Your Mission Statement Is Broken.

Do you have a mission statement. If you do, why?


Let’s be honest. Mission statements are pretty useless. They’re labored over and argued about. They’re revisited and revised. They almost always grow longer over time. They’re put on walls and websites. And then mostly forgotten.

Don’t believe it? Take a walk. Ask the first five team members you see to tell you the mission. How many do you think can do it?
A mission statement no one knows is worthless. So why have one at all? Two reasons. 

The first — and most important — is to tell your team what to do. Because everything they do should move you closer to fulfilling your mission. To do that, you need one that’s crystal clear. 

While each has an “official” mission statement, the world’s best-known soft drink companies each use a very different version to guide their people. Coke’s? “Put a can of Coke within arm’s reach of everyone on the planet.” Pepsi’s? “Beat Coke.” 

Read their formal mission statements online. Now read the ones above again. Which do you think people remember? Which help them do their jobs? Which can they measure themselves against?

The second reason to have a mission statement? To attract and inspire customers, shareholders, donors, team members and volunteers. And as younger generations pay more attention to what you’re about, this gets more important.

Your mission statement needs to be emotionally charged. It has to engage heart and mind. And it has to do it in clear, plain language.

So here’s a challenge. Scrap that musty mission statement that no one knows. Start over. You’ll meet resistance at first — maybe even your own. You’ll have to power through that.

Think like a military leader. What do you want your people to do? What’s the endgame? Take that hill. Destroy that wall. Stop those invaders. That’s the model. Start there. 

Now edit. Be ruthless. Strip away corporate jargon and long, formal phrases. What’s the point? What’s the least number of words that will work?

If you can do that, you’ll have a mission statement that actually inspires the troops. One that informs their actions every day. One that attracts the people you want to attract. Can your current mission statement do all that? Or any of that?

Want an equally effective vision statement? Answer this. How will you know when the mission is fulfilled? That’s your vision. “We beat Coke.”

(Need a hand tackling this? Give us a call at 812-399-1400 or email to find out how we can help.)