Step 1 - Develop A Mission Statement

Step 1 in strategic planning is to develop a mission statement. A mission statement is an enduring statement of purpose that distinguishes one organization from other similar enterprises. Sometimes called a creed statement or a vision statement, about 60% of organizations today have a written mission statement. Some firms publish their mission statement in their Annual Report and some place the mission statement on their web page. But most managers in most companies do not know whether the organization has a mission statement or not. This is unfortunate because developing a mission statement can yield great benefits.

A mission statement is important to insure unanimity of purpose, arouse positive feelings about the firm, provide direction, provide a basis for objectives and strategies, serve as a focal point, and resolve divergent views among managers. In every organization, there are divergent views among managers regarding direction and strategies. Discussing issues in developing a mission statement can help resolve divergent views.

Some guidelines for writing a mission statement are as follows. The statement should not be too lengthy - about 150 words is best. The statement needs to be longer than a phrase or sentence, but not a two page document. A mission statement also should not be too specific. Do not include $, %, #'s, goals, or strategies. In a strategic plan, objectives, strategies, and policies should be specific, but not the mission statement. Too much detail in a mission statement can alienate managers and stifle creativity. A mission statement should be inspiring. The reader should want to be a part of that organization after reading the mission statement. A mission statement should be enduring though not cast in stone. The statement should project a sense of worth, intent, and shared expectations and should state intrinsic value of the firm's products/services. Regarding intrinsic value, Avon for example sells beauty not just cosmetics, and Exxon sells energy, not just gas.

In writing a mission statement, include the following nine components to describe the company:

1. Customers (specify who is target market)

2. Products/Services (specify offerings and value provided to customers)

3. Geographic Markets (specify where firm seeks customers)

4. Technology (specify technology used to produce/market products)

5. Concern for Survival/Growth/Profits (specify concern for financial soundness)

6. Philosophy (specify values, ethics, beliefs)

7. Public Image (specify contributions being made to communities)

8. Employees (specify importance of managers/employees)

9. Distinctive Competence (specify how firm is different/better than competitors)
 
 
 

Mission Statement Worksheet

In the space provided, write a mission statement for your organization. Be sure to include the nine components listed above and follow the guidelines.

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