MISSION STATEMENT- Keeping it in View

We have seen many companies have mission statements, but what is the purpose, what does it achieve? A corporate mission statement is an enthusiasm and passion that lights up employees, delights customers, and shines for investor. And it’s so much more than just a statement

Its purpose.

A mission statement answers the question, what would the world lose if your company disappeared? It defines a company’s core reason for being and its resulting positive impact on the world. Companies driven by this purpose, reach higher for it, and achieve more because of it.

A superficial approach to mission statement doesn’t work. In fact, it can do considerable harm, opening up your company to accusations of inauthenticity, turning off customers or driving them away completely, and disaffecting employees up and down your organization. Poor outcomes follow when your mission statement is a patch job.

Companies with a genuine, lived mission statement radiate authenticity and do well by doing good. Customers, suppliers, partners, and investors recognize the value proposition. Senior management allocate capital and resources with the mission statement in mind. Employees think about it all the way, making it a part of their decision making. This doesn’t come easily. It requires management to embed the mission statement throughout the organization.

A framework for mission statement development

It’s relatively easy to develop a mission statement. Perhaps that’s why companies change it so often. We’ve had so many mission initiatives, unfortunately, about 70 percent of them fail to reach their stated goals, in large measure because the companies fail to change and sometimes fail to even think of changing the mindsets and behaviors of employees. The mission statement should be systemic and rational, but also emotional; it should resonate with members of your organization and inform their decision making.

Five major elements are critical in developing a mission statement:

  1. Products and Services
    • First, make sure that your business portfolio aligns with your company’s purpose. This portfolio is the assets the company possesses to develop its mission and reach its vision.
    • Second, ensure the products and services match your company’s purpose and winnow out those that don’t. The products and services the organization provides, where, and how to play the choices you make, to best serve your customers.
  2. People and Culture

Mission statements start with human beings. Employees, and indeed all stakeholders, are sources of strength and a hard check against inauthenticity. That’s why employee sentiment is often the single greatest force undermining insincere claims of purposefulness. Think, of companies that have championed inclusivity but have subsequently been accused of discriminatory behavior amongst its workforce.

The mission statement is with people and culture. It should start with recruitment, hiring individuals who share the values that support the company’s purpose. Only people who reflect the values of the company get hired. Also, the mission statement should also be reflected in people development and career pathways such that it is consistently reinforced throughout the organization. When the company identifies what it wants in a key performance indicator (KPI), good managers get it done, passionate employees would radiate enthusiasm to customers and communities alike.

  1. Processes and Systems

It takes a robust operational system and governance mechanisms to keep (or start) the mission engine humming. Some elements, of course, will be industry and business dependent but, regardless, most companies can embed best practices, to deliver on the mission statements.

Indeed, when embedding mission statements in a company’s processes and systems, it’s important to look beyond the company’s four walls, for instance embedding your mission in the supply chain could be a source of resilience. For instance, in the face of COVID-19, reducing payment terms from 30 days or more down to seven days. a company would have demonstrated that their suppliers would be vulnerable, and sought to play a role in supporting them. That resonates, when suppliers see that the company was there for them in their time of need, they’ll be there also in the time of need for the company.

  1. Performance Metrics

This means identifying the key performance indicators tied to a company’s mission statement, tracking them over time, and incenting the company to meet purpose targets. What gets measured gets managed, as Peter Drucker famously observed. what you seek to manage should be measured and on a consistent basis.

There is a range of tools and KPIs that companies can use, but, because the mission statement is bespoke, off-the-shelf solutions almost never have the same impact as those that are carefully tailored. Moreover, measuring and activating should not be limited to monetary incentives. Companies can encourage performance by celebrating offices and employees who contribute measurably to the organization’s mission. As employees are presented mission-based performance metrics on a routine basis, they will feel more comfortable.

  1. Positions and engagement

What’s true within an organization should be consistent beyond it, the mission statement should be embedded into how the organization conveys information to and engages with the public. A good reputation may get a customer to try a product, but unless they trust the company behind the product, they will soon stop buying it.

When the mission statement is hardwired, the company’s position, communications, and external engagement become logical extensions of their business model, it eliminates the gap between walk and talk.

Mission statement is a source of competitive advantage, but it must be genuine and infused in the organizations business model. These 5Ps provide a framework to help companies embed Mission statement in a systematic, holistic way. It helps organizations unlock sources of value, identify points of vulnerability, and do well.


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