Strategic Planning: Create a Mission Statement that Inspires and Motivates

By Jim Gribble "The Strat Plan Guy"

Diagram comparing Mission, Vision, and Core ValuesDeveloping a mission statement may be one of the most important activities you’ll undertake during your strategic planning process.

A great mission statement will reflect your primary purpose and the very core of why you exist. It succinctly tells EVERYONE — your customers, employees, suppliers, partners and the community what you’re all about.

Elements of a Mission Statement

Your mission statement should serve as a touchstone for day-to-day activities and become the foundation for future decision making. A great mission statement will satisfy each of the followings elements:

>> It should be customer focused, clearly reflecting that you are satisfying the needs and desires of those you serve.

>> It should be based on your core competencies — what clearly separates you from your competition.

>> It needs to be realistic, clear and specific.

>> And maybe most importantly, it should inspire and motivate your entire organization.

Don’t Create Your Mission Statement at the Beginning of Your Strategic Planning Process!

Creating a great mission statement can be a tall order and could take up a lot of man hours to develop. However, like many things in life, timing is everything…

This is why I take a different approach to most when it comes to the task of developing a mission statement. It’s not unusual for strategic planning teams to be eager to tackle this challenge straight away or after they have completed the internal and external analysis. I feel this is too soon and is why many teams spend an inordinate amount of time creating a mission statement.

In order to create a great mission statement, I feel it’s important to have a good understanding of who you are, your place in the market and where you want to be. This is why I like to wait until the How Do We Get There Phase to tackle this critical task.

Once you have a good idea of your strategic objectives and long term vision, it’s much easier to create a mission statement that builds on these goals.

To write your mission statement, I suggest you start with the worksheet below. Be sure to include strong ‘action words’ like ‘inspire’, ’empower’, ‘fulfill’, ‘lead’, ‘achieve’, etc.. If some of the questions below are not appropriate for your situation, consider modifying them.

We provide the following products/services:

We do this for who? And how do we help them?

We are really good at:

Our overall goal is to:

Our beliefs and values include:

Have the team gather this information and draft it into a one to three sentence mission statement. Then share your draft with others in the organization in order to gather feedback. Reconvene the team and use the comments you’ve received to refine your Mission Statement.

Be sure to read examples of other mission statements from businesses, as well as examples of mission statements from non-profits.

Finally, is your mission statement inspiring and motivating? Does is say what you want the world to know about you? I hope you’ll send it to me — I’d love to see what you come up with and will be happy to evaluate it for you.

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jimbutton Strategic Planning Facilitator, Jim Gribble “The Strat Plan Guy”, has decades of experience helping all types of organizations achieve their goals. During the first part of his career he ran profit centers as large as $85 million for leading direct-to-consumer companies. Jim first learned the power of strategic planning in the 80’s as a Product Manager at Xerox. Next, at International Masters Publishers he led a strategic planning effort that guided the company’s growth from $30 million to over $120 million in just four years. As an independent consultant for the past 15 years, Jim has developed strategic plans and marketing programs that have resulted in tremendous success for many clients. You’re invited to learn more about what Jim can do to help your business or organization benefit from effective strategic planning.