Here’s the good news: Your company isn’t headed toward disaster if you don’t have a mission statement. If you’re doing well, it’s likely that everyone in your organization knows his or her role. A mission statement is just the summation of what folks are already doing.
If things are a bit wobbly, though, it might be time to sit down and chart a few things. Yes, it’s time to create a few statements on posters and tchotchkes you see at the airport. Their destination is a place far more important than hanging on the wall. You’re about to do a bit of gene splicing into your company’s DNA.
No need to invest in a crystal ball. You do, however need to escape from the gravity pull of the day-to-day stuff that needs to happen for your company to function. That’s today.
Your vision statement is about tomorrow. Well, not actually 24 hours from now. It’s a statement that says what your company wants to be like at a future time. If you’re bold, pick the date.
Study a few vision statements. You’ll notice that many of them rely on a whole bunch of adverbs and adjectives to explain their vision. Is it necessary to say you’ll do something “exceptionally,” or that you will “delight” your customers? Delete the adverbs and adjectives. Go heavy on verbs that describe what you see for the future. You’ll find it’s more powerful.
It’s a statement because it’s comprised of words. But it’s meant to be consumed as a snapshot. It’s the state of your company at a point in the future you can see if you close your eyes. It’s summed up in this statement so you can share it. Your vision statement is a challenge.
The difference between a vision statement and a mission statement is the question they answer. While your mission statement deals with what, your mission statement will focus on why.
“Why do we exist?” Your mission statement should do nothing more than answer this question. The answer should focus on the present. Can you fit it on the back of your business card? It should.
Your mission statement is a succinct description of why you opened your doors for business, and what you do. It should focus on what makes your company unique.
It’s the challenge you’ll set for yourself and others, and it’s the clarification you’ll set for everyone. Your mission statement is the course correction anyone should be able to see if they close their eyes.
Values and Principles Statements
These statements aren’t as important to document as your vision and mission, but they provide insight if you take the time to create them. Your values statement describes the culture of your company. It’s often just a list. The words describe behaviors.
If your values statement provides a compass, your principles statement should give the directions on how to behave. If one of your values is customer care, how do you exemplify this? A principle might be that you listen more than you speak.
This one is a relative newcomer. It has more of an emotional objective than the other statements. Your purpose statement should answer the question of how you change the lives of your customers.
The focus is not on your company. It’s similar to your vision statement, but it’s a snapshot of how your customers will be at a point in the future if you close your eyes. Your purpose statement is the daily inspiration everyone in your organization needs to do good work.
Voodoo or Value?
Some companies spend considerable amounts of money to have professionals help them create this collection of statements. It’s a good investment if you have the budget, but you can do it yourself.
It starts with being truthful and transparent. “We are horrible at acting on customer feedback” is not going to show up in any of these statements. But you should know it, everyone should agree that it’s true, and your collection of statements should provide the reprogramming to correct it when you splice the statements into your company’s DNA.
The packaging products you use should reflect your statements. It’s a constant reminder of your brand. Are you buying vinyl business card holders or point-of-purchase display materials off the shelf? Close your eyes and envision completely customized solutions that communicate your “why.”
Then open your eyes so you can follow this link to contact us.