Every organization today all started with a mission. Be it one individual with a dream, or a group deciding to put an idea forward into fruition; the mission starts with an idea and is engrained into the DNA of the modern business, school or government institution. The mission is the heart of the organization; a starting point that is the pulse of why everyone there does what they do.
Great organizations continuously follow their mission and rarely stray from it; as even a deviation can result in a flutter of ineffective activity and confusion. The starting point of an organization is getting down to the core of what the mission is.
A mission statement should be concise and to the point; but be broad enough to empower those in the organization to look at it and ask: “Am I contributing to our goal?” The mission needs to have an emotional attachment; it is the guiding light for everyone within the organization. The mission should resonate with everyone whether they just joined an organization, or have been there since the beginning.
What is our Current Mission?
The mission starts with what is on the outside of the organization; not with what is inside. Entrepreneurs that fail are the ones that do what they want to do, instead of what their customer wants. Everyone in the organization needs to constantly look on the outside; as demographics change, and the result of progress is determined by the customer needs. Companies may be in the same sector, but can have entirely different missions in order to fit their niche and demographic. And finally, the mission states why you do what you do, not how you do it.
With the resources you have, look at the opportunities and limitations. What competitors are out there? What niches can you tackle? What inspires me and what commitment do I have? What is a need that my organization can fulfill? What wants does society have that I will fulfill? Asking yourself these will help you narrow down, until you get to the core of what your organization believes in.
Some examples of mission statements from some of the top 2011 technology-based companies:
Google: Organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.
Apple: Bringing the best personal computing experience to consumers around the world.
Facebook: Give the people the power to share and make the world more open and connected.
Adobe: To help people express, share, manage and collaborate on their ideas in imaginative and meaningful new ways.
Samsung: We will devote our human resources and technology to create superior products and service, thereby contributing to a better global society.
Netflix: To revolutionize the way people watch movies.
Each of these missions describes what the company wants to do. The how is not there, only the why. These missions have been with each organization from the beginning; only requiring minor modifications over the years. Where products and services come and go as society moves forward, the fundamental passion of the organization should rarely change; everyone should have the same standards and empowerment today and in the future.
What do we need to become? Why do I work here? Why does this company exist? What does this company believe in? Who am I helping? Why do I want to do this and what meaningful impact do I want to make? These are all questions on dialing in what your mission is and how to achieve it. This is the motivation that brings out the best of people within a successful business, the drive that stimulates those in non-profits and the dedication brought out in teachers within our educational institutions.
The heart starts here; what follows is the performance and execution in order for the organization and those within it to achieve its end goals.