How to Write a Mission Statement That Doesn’t Suck

May 8, 2017
By Zack Poelwijk
Compass with needle pointing the word mission. Conceptual illustration part one of a company statement, Mission, Vision and Value.

People always ask what you do. If your company was Disney, let’s just say, it might be easy to say that you make movies, you run theme parks, and you manage merchandising. But what is the REAL thing you do, if your company is Disney?

You make people happy. All those movies, theme parks, and merchandising deals are designed for just one purpose….to lead people to visit Disneyworld, a place they call “The Happiest Place on Earth.” Why? So you’re happy. If you can’t visit Disneyworld or Disneyland, their merchandise and movies is designed to give people a piece of that happiness. That’s really what it is about.

If your company cleans carpets, what is the REAL thing you do? Can you put your carpet-cleaning mission into human terms and figure out what you REALLY do? How can you turn your stated purpose of building a profitable business keeping people’s carpet grime-free into something that people will get excited about?

99% of the world’s mission statements have long, dense-sounding language that the company’s legal team approved probably after five pages of footnotes. Chances are, the mission statements include the words “visionary,” “connecting,” or “integrity.” While you naturally strive to run your company with integrity, shouldn’t that be part of the experience people get from working with you? Shouldn’t your customers know you have integrity by the time they’re done working with you? Does it need to be in your mission statement? If it’s in your mission statement but people don’t leave your office believing it, it really doesn’t matter if it’s stated in your mission or not.

We stay loyal to brands because of their values, not their mission statement. We stay loyal because of the way the company treats us and the way the company makes us feel.

Remove the musty language from your mission statement. Write something that gives us a picture of what you do and why it’s worth doing. That’s how you write a mission statement that doesn’t suck.

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