How to draft a mission statement
Creating Vision Statements For Business And Personal Use
Every business has a mission to share with co-workers and clients. The purpose is to promote the vision of the company, which is why mission statements are sometimes called “vision statements.” Here’s how to get it done…
If you don’t have a clear, written mission statement for your company yet, it’s time to get that done.
This statement of your vision for the company is important because having all employees on the same page is vital for your company’s growth and unity. If employees are not clear on the agenda, it’s hard for them to serve as a fully prepared team.
That’s why many businesses depend upon the mission, or “vision statement” model to get the job done right the first time.
If you are writing a mission statement for an organization, you must start with the right questions, according to Entrepreneur.com.
The answers will guide you to a better understanding for writing the perfect mission statement that should consist of several sentences to one paragraph, the Small Business Administration advises. The shorter, the better.
These guidelines can direct you when writing a mission statement for your new entrepreneurial venture, or your own personal mission statement to include on your resume for future employers.
Ask questions. How will fellow co-workers and customers know what to expect from your company? What values are important to your business? What are you doing for the community?
A mission statement will clear up any confusion as to what your organization stands for and promotes.
This vision statement should direct employees toward the values your company was founded upon. If you serve a special purpose or have a certain ethic you are proud of, this should be included in the mission statement.
These questions, when answered, will evolve into the material you will use when you write your business mission statement.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
- For what purpose was this business founded?
Answers should be set in present tense. A mission statement does not necessarily focus on future endeavors, but places its attention on the here and now.
Share the Wealth
In writing a mission statement for an existing company, don’t try to gather all of the information by yourself.
Make some copies or email the questions to all different levels of employees. If you are close to any clients, include them as well. By gathering all this information from people affected in different ways by how the company operates, you'll end up with a more rounded mission statement.
Since the mission statement is a representation of – and a guideline for – all of the company’s employees, it makes sense to gather input and form a group opinion whenever that is appropriate.
On a Mission
Next, start compiling the data and make a rough draft of your mission or vision statement.
Take the information you received from everyone’s input, and document which values got the most responses.
Maybe employees thought that being eco-friendly and family-owned was highly important. In that case, be sure to mention both. Keep it as short and to the point as you can. Ultimately, you'll want no more than five clear sentences. Your mission statement might eventually need to be cut down for length and clarity, but don't worry about that right now. Just narrow down the key facts you want to include in the statement.
Not every suggestion given needs to have a place in your mission statement. This is a culmination of important points, and should be brief enough that you can present it quickly and concisely to both the company and to the public sector as a whole.
To start off, define exactly what your company does, then focus on anything about your company, its products and culture that makes you stand out from competitors.
After establishing a clear definition of the business, touch on your company’s aspirations, philosophies and values.
This is what your employees focus on, and what you’ll refer to in future meetings. So choose clear, descriptive wording, proper grammar and perfect punctuation. If you're
not an expert writer, have at least one extra pair of eyes look over it for anything that could be corrected or clarified.
The best mission statements are created by people working together, which brings benefit to everyone involved.
Modify the Mission
How do you create the best mission statement? By polishing it over and over until it’s perfect.
Revise your statement until it gets the point across as quickly and clearly as possible. The first mission statement you write might not be your last, and that’s OK. It is not unusual for a vision statement to evolve as the business grows and changes over time.
It’s important that your company stay up to date and in sync with the times, so you should feel free to adjust your motivation and agenda based upon the business climate, social and technological changes, economy, environment and any other factor that could possibly impact your business.
Since most mission statements will change every few years, make it a point to review yours annually to ensure its accuracy. Just remember, if your company gets bigger, your statement doesn't need to grow with it. Keep it as close to five sentences as you can.
Your Personal Mission Statement
If you are writing a mission statement for your resume, it should be a very short paragraph highlighting your best qualities – as a person and an employee. A single sentence is always best for resume purposes. Using the same guidelines as writing a business mission statement, note how your attitude and values are important in your everyday life, as well as in your career.
The whole point of writing a personal mission statement is to give your resume a little something extra that sets you apart from the rest.
As you update your resume or evolve in your career path, continue to update your personal mission statement. Review it at least once a year and make honest and positive changes accordingly, even if you’re not job-hunting at the time. You never know when a resume will be needed!
Your statement should show prospective employers what they can expect from you now and in years to come.
Now that you have a better understanding of writing the successful mission statement, either personal or business-related, let's go over the most important tips:
- Make a list of information to include in statement of your company’s (or your personal) vision.
When you finally have a clear statement of your mission or vision, make sure that employees, co-workers and clients understand it and feel that it's sound. It’s no good if employees don’t feel it applies to them. Hold a meeting when the statement is completed, so everyone has a chance to review and understand it, and to discuss what it means to them.
Be proud of your company's mission statement and post it everywhere possible, perhaps at the end of emails, on a community bulletin board, or anywhere that would be appropriate to share it. And of course, it should be the lead paragraph in all company handbooks and updated policies. There’s no one way to go about making a mission statement, but the tips listed above are the best ways to start if you're having some trouble.
Remember that your mission statement is who you are today, and should convey that timely message clearly. It’s not about what you hope to become in the future; it's all about the “now.”
And finally, don't stress out over it. Have a little fun, talk to lots of people, and you’re likely to end up with a uniquely brilliant statement about your mission, your vision, and your company’s place in the world. Your time will have been well spent.
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