Redefine Your Mission Statement and Watch Engagement Skyrocket

Posted On: January 21, 2015

Mission statements are critical to a business. It is quite literally the mission that each employee and partner is called upon to accept as part of their working relationship. Mission statements act as a navigator when business has lost its way, when the morale is down, or when new opportunities arise, they act as a sounding board. 

While some mission statements are actually used to guide and reflect the interworking of a business, there are far too many that are full of sleep-inducing industry jargon. Can’t businesses run without a mission statement? But maybe the better question is: are mission statements an archaic thing-of-the-past? Not according to the Google Ngram Viewer (which pulls words from books [not the Internet] starting from those printed in the 1800s). The term “Mission statement” started appearing in books in the 1940s, skyrocketed in books by the 1980s and has been steadily climbing ever since. The original premise for creating a mission statement was so giant corporations could reveal their humanity to better connect with the public and so people could understand what they were all about.

Since the inception of mission statement creation, small businesses to conglomerates work to fashion a powerful, descriptive and useful way to pinpoint what they strive for and who they care about. Mission statements are useful because they act as a hub around which employees and partners can focus.

If there are values a business wants to be clear they support, a mission statement is the place to do it. More specifically, these are the pillars a company needs to project in a strategic mission statement:

  1. Goals: Not just any goals, but things like goals for customers, employees and communities.
  2. Culture: Not what culture means to the company, but how the company creates, builds and maintains their unique culture.
  3. Ethics: Not only how their services or products solve or improve but the ethical impacts of their presence in the marketplace.

While some companies freely share their mission on their websites or in their print materials, some hold their mission statements close only allowing the most impactful statements to play out as taglines. For leadership to state their mission is a bold and powerful place from which to build the foundation of a carefully crafted business.

A strategy-driven mission statement can radically improve the way employees engage with a company and brand. It can be the difference between a loyal workforce and a resentful one. A strong, clear, inspiring mission statement acts as an invitation which has the affect of employees wanting to accept it over feeling obligated to accept it. A mission statement that inspires can spread empowerment, which in turn engages employees, partners and customers.

So it is time to redefine your mission statement (and like all living documents, touch-ups are a must). Most mission statements can’t live more than five years without a keen look at how goals are shifting or to incorporate an expanding audience.

Here’s how to revise and revitalize a mission statement:

  1. Get at the Good: Share how your business services or products transform people’s lives. You don’t have to be saving the polar bears or feed the starving to be doing something good for the world. A company that performs honest and dependable housecleaning services is bringing good.
  2. Define Owner Goals: Yes, people need and want to grow their investment and raise their financial position. These types of goals are fine to include in a mission statement but don’t be afraid to make a statement about the type of environment you’re interested in creating for those owners: creative, promising, safe, fun—whatever it may be.
  3. Promises to Employees: Remind people the promises you are committed to fulfilling for your employees. Maybe you care about diversity or supporting continuing education. Perhaps you have a passion for flexible work environments or a health-conscious ethos. Include this in your mission statement as a reminder of expectations.
  4. Edit. Re-write. Edit Again: When you launch into revising a mission statement (or starting from scratch) you could fill pages with the flowery language of your deepest wishes for your customers, owners and employees. This isn’t meant to be a love letter—it is a power statement. Succinct, exacting language written with brevity is the only way to write mission statements. Get rid of superfluous words. Remove meaningless business-speak and get honest with what you’re creating.

Working this exercise might surprise you—might even bring up a new direction you’ve not attempted previously. Most exciting, though, is what can happen when you reintroduce a revised mission statement to your current employees. A renewed passion for their work can spread company-wide. And a workforce with passion for their employer is an engaged one.

Engaged employees are some of the best brand ambassadors a company could ask for. After the hard but necessary work of redefining your mission statement do not send out a company-wide email to make the announcement—doing so could backfire.

To capture the momentum of what a mission statement can bring to the table, use your newly defined statement to plan your annual sales meeting or a company-wide event. Docherty can use the power of a mission statement to plan a meaningful meeting or event where you can then introduce the revision to the corporate suite or the entire staff. This kind of gathering is the single best way to rally around a new mission statement, which compels employees to engage in deeper ways with their projects, their teams and your brand.

Redefine your mission statement then give us a call so we can help you plan the big unveiling of your next smartest business move.