It makes a difference, especially today.
Honestly, a mission statement for companies? In today’s world, where change hits us at the speed of light, is that necessary or useful anymore? What purpose is this epic directive supposed to serve, and who, other than management, even reads through these paragraphs, let alone “acts on them”?
I believe that a mission statement is more important today than it has ever been.
A mission statement is of great importance. Everything changes at the speed of light, and constant change makes such a point of orientation necessary for everyone.
Successful companies don’t move like flags in the wind. They make a difference. The substance of their mission makes the difference. Value concepts are essential and have a social impact.
Only the mission statement helps us and our customers differentiate ourselves from the competition. Products and services are of less and less use here as a differentiating factor.
The corporate mission statement is the basis for leadership culture.
Last time I told you why a vision, no matter what the task, is vital. The second thing I always address is to look for a mission statement, and if I don’t find one, to work it out with my team. If you don’t have a mission statement formulated, that doesn’t mean there isn’t one. You just don’t know it.
But then, you’re not in the driver’s seat. You may understand much too late why things are the way they are and that you should have changed them much earlier.
A mission statement is how you embrace and live your culture. There are many good reasons to actively influence a mission statement.
A mission statement provides orientation in:
- Changing strategy
- Setting long-term goals
- Interacting with each other
- Dealing with customers
What and who actually defines the mission statement? Well, the “who” is quite simple. All co-workers who work with you influence it. Do you want to actively influence it or just understand how to define a mission statement?
Then here are the criteria.
A mission statement should be:
- universally valid
I usually hold a workshop to define the mission statement. Depending on the group and the size of the group, it usually takes a day.
I divide the group into subgroups. They then have to start answering questions. Once all the questions have been answered, they are discussed together. Here you will notice that sometimes there is a struggle over every word. In the end, one or more sentences are written on the board. Everyone is exhausted, but the mission statement is finished.
Discuss the following questions:
- Who are we?
- What do we get up for every morning?
- Why does our company exist?
- What does our company contribute to the world?
- Where do we want to be at the end of the year?
- How do we want our customers to see us then?
- Which customers do we make happy?
- How do we want to work with each other?
- How do we interact with co-workers, clients, competitors, and the public?
An example of a divisional mission statement might be:
We deliver fast and scalable solutions as an innovative partner for the departments within our company. By dealing with each other respectfully and appreciatively, we manage to achieve this goal together.
An example of a company mission statement might be:
Our passion is to guide you to the perfect vacation. We help you plan, find, and book a location and don’t leave you alone on your trip. We do this in a fair and binding manner.
For a whole group of companies, I can offer the following example:
(in this case, it’s REWE Group’s core values)
- Act on our own responsibility towards the community!
- Act for the customer: we are in the middle of the market!
- Have courage for new things; standing still is a step backward!
- Treat each other openly, with trust and respect. Our word is our bond!
- Struggle for the best solution, make well-considered decisions, and act consistently!
- Are aware of our responsibility and act sustainably!
That was the easier part. The development of a mission statement. Now, how do you bring it to life?
The mission statement is formulated and approved. It may even be elaborated in an excellent and visually appealing PowerPoint presentation. You could even make posters out of it. However, it must not remain a mere written document slumbering in a drawer.
Next time, we’ll talk about why values are necessary and how to do “it” with values. We’ll show you how to anchor things like a mission statement and the vision or values in a company.
Photo by Bernard Hermant on Unsplash