How to Build a Strong Team Mission Statement
A team mission statement is the foundation and guiding light for everything the organization does. It acts as an expression of the organization’s goals and what it cares about. This article explains how to build strong mission statements that will embody what the organization represents and convey it effectively to its team and customers.
Why Is a Team Mission Statement Important?
The key importance of a team mission statement is to provide direction for the organization. It should be used as a thread of commonality that runs through every department and aspect of the company. This direction helps to unify forces, maintain focus, and avoid wasted time and energy.
A mission statement also gives the team values and purpose to work toward. Research has shown that having purpose at work leads to higher work satisfaction and better performance. Not to mention higher engagement and retention. Having a shared sense of purpose makes employees feel unified and accountable for the work that they do. This, in turn, leads to boosted motivation and a desire to produce quality work.
What Is the Difference Between a Vision Statement and a Mission Statement?
The term ‘vision statement’ is often used interchangeably with ‘mission statement.’ While these two terms are very similar — both mission and vision statements include a company’s purpose and values — there are key distinctions between the two.
The first is length. A mission statement is typically one to three sentences, while a vision statement is even shorter — about one sentence. The other difference is the time frame. A mission statement is set in the present, while a vision statement focuses on the future.
A mission statement is a description and expression of what the organization embodies. It describes how, what, and why the organization does what it currently does. A vision statement explains where the company wants to go next, focusing on long-term goals.
One last distinction is the audience for these statements. A mission statement is usually made public and geared toward both employees and customers. A vision statement is aimed at employees and other internal stakeholders.
The Elements of a Team Mission Statement
Many organizations use a template when creating their mission statements, which is a fine practice to utilize. However, it is important that a mission statement be unique and relevant versus generic and thrown together. Here are the essential questions to address in a mission statement:
- Who are you? Identify the organization or department name
- What is your purpose? Explain why the organization/team exists and what value it brings to others
- What are you capable of? Explain what the organization offers (services, products, etc.) and what makes it unique
- Who is this for? Identify who makes up the customer base, team, and other stakeholders
A mission statement should be clear and concise. Any person, even someone outside of the organization’s industry, should be able to understand it. It should also be sustainable and inspiring, with purpose and values that are long-lasting.
How to Build a Team Mission Statement
While understanding the elements of a mission statement is helpful, there are some other considerations to take when building a team mission statement, such as who is involved and how to determine what it should say. Here are steps for creating an effective team mission statement:
- Get the team involved: This work should be a collaborative effort with input from all necessary parties. Not only does this ensure the mission statement is accurate and relevant to all aspects of the organization, but it also helps mitigate any misconceptions. For example, if only a board of directors or C-level staff are creating the mission statement, this may create something that does not seem relatable or purposeful to other levels of employees. Involving the team also ensures the organization’s values and purpose are in alignment with the team’s personal values and purpose, which is essential.
- Consider all areas: Think of all the roles and tasks within the organization. Obviously, not all areas may be referenced in the mission statement, as that can get very long and unnecessary. However, it is still important to examine the organization from all angles to make sure it is relevant to all departments.
- Determine the purpose: This is probably the most important step in building a strong mission statement, as purpose and values are the cornerstones. To determine this, ask:
- Why does the organization exist?
- Who does the organization serve?
- What are its short and long-term goals?
- What value does it bring to customers and employees?
- What makes the organization unique?
- Create and share: After writing the mission statement, share it on all appropriate channels. This could be the organization’s website, social media channels, internal communication channels, or in the press. Sharing the mission statement should not be a one-time occurrence. Share it often and refer back to it when making key decisions. It is easy for stakeholders to lose sight of the real purpose of the organization. Be sure to remind them when appropriate and necessary.
- Make regular revisions: A mission statement is a living document that should be adapted as the organization grows and evolves. When it is time to make updates, revisit the previous steps to ensure any changes in the team, purpose, and activities of the organization are included.
A mission statement is a foundational element of any organization. It drives the interactions and activities that an organization partakes in with employees, customers, and stakeholders, ultimately influencing overall reputation. When contemplating how to build a team mission statement, be sure to consider multiple perspectives to make it well-rounded and a better embodiment of the organization.
KnowlegeCity’s mission statement is a good example of how to encapsulate essential elements and learn more about the company. For more valuable articles, as well as case studies, whitepapers, ebooks, and more, visit KnowledgeCity’s resource page.
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