Why having a mission statement is important to company culture

Not all companies have mission statements, but those that do have discovered these short, concise sentences can have a distinctly positive impact on their employees, shareholders, and customers or clients. Good mission statements are brief and to-the-point; they succinctly express a firm’s philosophy, goals, and reason for being, as well as what impels it to become the best it can be for everyone involved. In terms of workers, mission statements remind new and old employees alike why they do what they do, and should be kept front and center in staff members’ minds during their tenure with the company.

What a Mission Statement Is and Isn’t

Mission statements aren’t logos, jingles or catchy slogans used in advertising or to “brand” products or services. For example, Harley Davidson’s “American by birth. Rebel by choice.” is a tag line that somewhat describes the company’s philosophy, while Ford’s “Go further” is more of a brand message than anything else. To get a better idea of what a mission statement is, take a look at the wording of these two particular companies’ mission statements:

  • Harley Davidson“We fulfill dreams through the experience of motorcycling, by providing to motorcyclists and to the general public an expanding line of motorcycles and branded products and services in selected market segments.”
  • Ford Motor Company – “We are a global family with a proud heritage passionately committed to providing personal mobility for people around the world.”

These two mission statements have a clear employee focus and are most likely part of employee-related recruitment material, included in guidelines or handbooks for newly onboarded workers, and displayed on plaques or in frames at dealerships, offices and headquarters, as well as being listed on the firms’ websites. A good mission statement pulls employees together and gives them an ever-present goal-oriented focus, a sense of purpose and a feeling of being an integral part of the company’s future.

As an enterprise evolves, expands or changes direction over the years, it needs to review and quite possibly rewrite its mission statement in order to accurately represent corporate goals, philosophies and strategies for achieving its aims.

What a Good Mission Statement Should Include

When the time comes to write a mission statement, executives don’t need to flounder and over-complicate the issue. Include the ideas of management, key employees or any other team members who can best help answer these questions:

  • What is the company’s purpose?
  • Why does the company exist?
  • How does the company do what it does?
  • For whom does the company provide products or services?
  • What are the company’s substantive goals?

After brainstorming sessions, sum up the answers to the questions above in a concise sentence or two, bearing in mind that the mission statement will be read by anyone involved in the company and, ultimately, by the customers or clients who keep the organization in business. Test out the mission statement on select employees and ask for feedback in order to tweak and adjust it until it becomes worthy of inclusion in employee manuals, compendiums, and the “About Us” section of the firm’s website, or proudly displayed behind glass in a hallway at the business’ headquarters.

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