Writing a Mission Statement that Inspires: 3 Tips
Writing a mission statement can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be.
In this article we will break it down for you in 3 easy steps (without the fluff) and with some great examples.
But first, what is a mission statement?
What is a mission statement?
A mission statement is a phrase that encapsulates the purpose of your business.
It’s what you stand for and the reason why people might buy from you. But not all mission statements are created equal, in fact, most are forgettable or generic because they’re written by a committee or focus groups.
What if we told you there was a foolproof way to write an amazing mission statement?
After reading this post, you will know how to create a compelling message that inspires their employees and customers alike.
A mission statement should be short, concise and inspiring.
In order to create an effective communication tool that will motivate employees, customers and other stakeholders, these 3 things are key: clarity about purpose, honesty about being human and bravery in defining goals.
Writing a mission statement that inspires
Clarity about purpose
A clear mission statement is focused on what you do, not why you do it. The writing should be lean and specific while also being fun to say if it were a sentence.
This focus will help you create an authentic communication tool that can serve as your compass in times of ambiguity, but also galvanize employees when they’re pursuing the same goals.
For example, Glossier’s mission statement is:
“To make the everyday woman confident and create products that encourage both simplicity and experimentation.”
This statement is clear about their purpose: to make the everyday woman confident. What an inspiring purpose! What woman doesn’t want to feel more confident?
Honesty about being human
An effective communication tool should be an authentic and honest depiction of what your business is and who you want to be.
This means that it shouldn’t portray your company as bigger or better than it really is, but instead as an entity that is still trying to figure things out like the rest of us.
For example, many companies go to great lengths to portray themselves as “green”, but Patagonia’s mission is one of the most honest and inspiring:
“Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.”
This statement mirrors their company’s belief that they should be accountable for what happens after a product is sold.
Their products are built with love and care. Their customers know that when they buy something from them it was made for them by humans who were paid fairly and not in factories where people were mistreated or abused.
The outcome of every transaction matters as much as the transaction itself.
Bravery about goals
When writing a mission statement, it’s important to capture what you really care about. It’s the part of your company that’s not for sale. It should be something you’d wear on a T-shirt, because it matters to you, not any investors.
When creating a mission statement there are no bad ideas, so go bold or go home! Make it strange or hilarious or weird, but make sure you believe in what you’re writing and fight for every word.
Once this communication tool is made public, everyone will know if it’s authentic or not and they’ll know when someone else has compromised in order to save face.
For example, compare these two mission statements and ask yourself which one is more inspiring?
“We want to put a ding in the universe.”
“To provide value through product & service, expand into new markets and go beyond our mission.”
The first statement is clearly the winner. Who wouldn’t want to ding the universe? It’s confident, brave and inspiring.
If your mission statement lacks clarity, honesty or bravery it will be forgettable or generic.
The formula for an effective communication tool is to make sure that every word matters by focusing on what you actually do (not why), reflecting honestly about who you are (and still trying to figure things out) and creating goals that matter to YOU (the one wearing the T-shirt).
Putting it all together
So, take a deep breath. Grab your writing tool of choice and get ready to write something that matters. Your mission statement is not about writing the perfect sentence, but writing an authentic one that serves as your compass in times of ambiguity while also galvanizing employees when they’re pursuing the same goals.