What is a Mission Statement or should we say, why you need a map when you go out of town. A mission statement is basically a statement that a company sets up when they first start their business. The goal of a mission statement is to guide the company towards the direction they’re going in. For example, the mission statement for Starbucks is tied to its employees. It states that they work ethically and honestly, they serve the best cup of coffee, and that they’re going to help the environment.
The reason that we mention why you would need a map if you are going out of town is because a mission statement is a way to direct a company. Let’s say, for example, you were lost and you didn’t know where you were. Having a map will redirect you and get you back on course.
Sometimes a company may change its view or focus. For example, when you look at Facebook, you will see how Facebook did so much in such a short period of time. They had a lot of people that were new to the company and they grew and expanded very early and in a really fast way.
Your mission statement will tell you where you’re going
When a company experiences uncontrolled growth or they feel like they’re going in different directions, management may have meetings and question their mission statement to make sure that they’re on course. They may actually sit in meetings and ask the employees:
“What is our mission statement?”
This is the way to remind employees to stay focused.
That’s why if you had that map, and you were lost in the woods somewhere, all you have to do is follow the map. While it might seem scary if you’re stuck outside in the night, by day break you’ll know the direction to go to based on the map. You have an accurate guide to follow.
How to create a mission statement
When a company first sets up their business, they may actually change their goals over time. Initially when a company starts a business, they want to set up a mission statement based on what their plans are for that specific business at that time. They make a mission statement that’s based on future goals that they can foresee in the near future at that moment.
Let’s take a look at a company like Apple. Apple and Steve Jobs probably did not expect sudden, big changes early on. When he made his first computer and set up his first main frame, he didn’t know he would be making iPhones, iPads, and tablets for millions of people all over the world. He probably just thought that he was making a simple computer.
What happens with a company over time is that their mission statement can change. As they grow, they may have to redefine or recreate their mission statement to make sure it’s still on track with what they’re doing.
Remember that map we talked about? If a new road is put in, the map has to be updated, as well. That way if someone is coming along, they will notice that a new road is there. When a company takes a new path and they want to go in a new direction, they will make a note of this in their mission statement.
Who reads the mission statement?
For starters, employees read the mission statement. This is very important because it helps them to understand what their goals are and focus on them while working at the company.
Sometimes a business will have new employees see their mission statement and have it posted in the employee handbook. This is a way to help employees understand what the company’s goals are. Remember when we mentioned how Starbucks was focused on the environment and wanted to help their employees work ethically and recycle? They’ll teach this to all new employees, too.
The reason they teach this to their employees is because they want them to understand that they all have to be on board and working in the same direction. If your map showed one road that led to a certain bridge, everyone has to take that same road to get to the bridge.
You would want to ensure that you put everyone on the same course so they can all reach their destination. You might even give them directions like in the employee handbook as we mentioned before. That way, you can rest assured that people will reach the same destination at work and achieve the same work goals for the good of the company.
Who else reads a mission statement?
People who use a company’s products and services should also read the mission statement. When they drink a cup of coffee from Starbucks, they may want to find out whether or not Starbucks is protecting the environment. They can find out by looking at their mission statement.
How long is the mission statement?
A mission statement can be lengthy, or it can be a few paragraphs. Ultimately though, a mission statement is one sentence that has a few parts. It sums up everything that the company stands for. If you want to see a company’s mission statement, just go to their website and either look for the ‘About Us’ page, or an area where it describes the company. You can also check under Investor Relations. You may see the first sentence of the mission statement at the top of the page and the rest of the information beneath that.
Sometimes mission statements can be broken down into different areas. If you look at the Starbucks mission statement or even the Pepsi Co.‘s mission statement, you’ll notice that they are very detailed and lengthy. They want to make sure that their employees all over the world know how they will act and treat each other in an ethical manner and how they are keeping everyone safe. They also make sure that they are following all laws in the areas that they work in and that they take care of their employees and treat them fairly.
More details may be included in a mission statement. You will find them in the paragraphs that follow their initial mission statement.
Always remember: if you ever want to see the direction a company is going to, look for their mission statement. It will reveal their direction. It’s like that map. If you’re ever taking a journey and you’re unsure about it, be sure to look at the map to give you guidelines so that you don’t get lost!
Image: © Ragsac19 | Dreamstime.com