8 Attributes of An Effective Mission Statement

Attributes of an Effective Mission Statement with hands in the air

Does Your Strategy Contain the Attributes of an Effective Mission Statement?
We find that 70% of mission statements do not meet the mark because they lack the necessary attributes of an effective mission statement.

Mission Defines your Fundamental Purpose – Your Greater Reason Why
The clearer you can be about the business you are in and your fundamental purpose, the easier it is to define a successful strategy that your key stakeholders—employees, owners and customers alike—can rally behind.  If you know the attributes of an effective mission statement, it can help to create strategic clarity.

Why Do Companies and Team Struggle with Mission Statements?
Explaining succinctly just why you are in business is the aim of a well-crafted mission statement.  Unfortunately, too many companies struggle to articulate a meaningful statement of the organization’s mission. The best ones are those that define a business and its purpose in one, brief, impactful, simple sentence.

The difficulty lies in avoiding buzz words and differentiating your business from others. It is all too easy to say that “your customers always come first” or that “quality is your primary concern.” While we believe that the process of creating a mission statement is as or more important than the statement itself, neither of these phrases differentiates your business from others.

Examples of Mission Statements
Here are a few examples of mission statements from companies you probably recognize.

  • Google’s Mission Statement: To organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.
  • McDonalds’ Mission Statement: We are focused on delivering great tasting, high-quality food to our customers and providing a world-class experience that makes them feel welcome and valued.
  • Disney’s Mission Statement: Be one of the world’s leading producers and providers of entertainment and information.
  • Nike’s Mission Statement: To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world.
  • Budweiser’s Mission Statement: Be the best beer company in a better world.
  • Facebook’s Mission Statement: Give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected.

Eight Attributes of an Effective Mission Statement
A well-crafted mission statement, one that has all the attributes of an effective mission statement, usually has some semblance of the following format:

“To provide (your ideal target customers) with (your core products and services)
that deliver (distinct benefits and results).”

While each of the above mission statements have things we like, such as Google’s aspiration or Budweiser’s simplicity, here are some tips on the attributes of an effective mission statement to help get your mission statement right. While you do not necessarily need all eight, they are a good place to start.

1. Ideal Target Customer
Who are the key customers, markets and stakeholders that matter most and you serve best?  Trying to be all things to all people is a clear path to mediocrity. High growth firms are almost three times as likely to be highly specific and detailed about who they serve best.

2.  Fundamental Products and Services
While your opportunities may seem endless, your mission should help provide clarity and focus.  High growth firms are 62% more likely to be highly specialized in what they offer.  What are the major products and services that your ideal target clients expect you to offer better than anyone else?

3.  Core Competencies
What are the critical few core competencies that your organization does better than anyone else?

4.  Distinctive Benefits
What are the chief benefits you provide to your major stakeholders?

5.  Desired Results
What specific results do you want to achieve?

6.  Short
Ideally you can describe the business you are in and your fundamental purpose in twelve words or less.

7.  Believable
While your fundamental purpose should be worthwhile and inspirational so employees feel they’re part of a journey that deserves their attention, the destination should be “just possible.”  It should describe something that’s worth the long-term effort, but still believable if you stretch yourselves.  A mission statement is less potent if employees find it too easy to achieve or beyond the realm of possibility for your market, industry, competition and people.

8.  Relevant
Lastly, your mission statement should be highly relevant to all internal and external stakeholders who matter most for you to be successful in your mission.  We define stakeholders as those who have influence or power over your mission and those who have an interest in its successful or unsuccessful accomplishment.

The Bottom Line
Our organizational alignment research found that strategic clarity accounts for 31% of the difference between high and low performing organizations.

  • Before you expend time and energy on putting together a mission statement, agree upon the purpose of the effort. In general, the aim should be to communicate to others what you do and why, as well as to provide strategic clarity for your business decisions.
  • Then, actively involve a team that reaches across levels, roles and functions so that you get a broad view of the enterprise. Make sure the team has an in-depth understanding of your customers and what they value.
  • Lastly, use straightforward language and make sure your mission statement follows the eight attributes.

To learn more about creating strategic clarity for your teams, download Is Your Business Strategy Clear Enough?

Comments are closed.

PalmSource has found our relationship with LSA extremely beneficial. We worked closely with LSA to customize the right Management Training Program solution to meet our unique business needs. LSA is a quality organization, one that I’d recommend to any company looking for a first class training and consulting partner.

Ken Boehm
Vice President of Human Resources

LSA’s Employee Engagement Consulting and Survey work has provided critical visibility into: how well our people are holding up under the general economic environment, as well as, the specific challenges that face biotechnology companies in their efforts to discover and develop new medicines; their level of alignment and commitment to XOMA’s Vision and mission critical strategies; how leadership practices and management systems support an environment that engender commitment, and the specific actions that our leaders can take to improve on areas that are important to our people. I highly recommend LSA’s employee engagement solutions.

Chris Wells
Vice President, HR and IT

We have been able to utilize LSA’s extensive network of top-notch resources to leverage our investment in employee development. The result has been the cost effective and highly efficient delivery of quality educational and management training programs.

Steve Feller
Vice President, Human Resources

The LSA Global team was very receptive and flexible to our needs every step of the way. Their staff and facilitator demonstrated attention to detail, responsiveness, and professional courtesy. The participants were thrilled with the outcome and rated the communication skills workshop and the facilitator as ‘Excellent’. I’d highly recommend working with the LSA Global team to meet your professional development needs.

John Mastrorilli
FRDP Leader

Intuit

I consistently look to LSA Global when I need custom programs put together for my client groups. I can always count on LSA to do a thorough needs analysis and to put together spectacular programs that are well received. Their management development and performance management expertise and professionalism make them one of my top-rated learning and development partners.

Stephanie Webb
HR Program Manager

Rambus

We partnered with LSA Global to help us invest in our people in the areas of performance coaching, diversity, and inclusion. They focused on helping us succeed and were very flexible in meeting our specific needs. LSA Global exceeded my expectations from a speed, quality, and value standpoint. I would recommend LSA Global to anyone looking for a true business partner.

Anita Luckinbill
Director, Human Resources

Here’s a token of my appreciation for ALL your efforts. I’m offering my most sincere appreciation, and it extends to all the folks who made our customized management development programs possible.

Susan Anderson
Workforce Planning Bureau

SeaTel has found our partnership with LSA Global to be very valuable and beneficial. We turned to LSA to customize a supervisory/leadership solution to meet our needs. LSA delivered a customized top quality solution. I’d recommend LSA Global to any company looking for a best-in-class training and consulting partner.

Kortney Riddle
HR Manager

Each program is preceded by an assessment of the participants. The course is then designed to fit the specific parameters and needs of the group. The highly interactive delivery is provided by recognized experts in their fields. On the spot coaching is provided during the program and each participant receives individual follow-up after the course. Courses can be delivered in-person or virtually. Given the nature of Cisco’s business and the way we operate, these remote workshops are a must for anyone who joins our company. Their work is eye opening. Great content and fantastic delivery.

Frank J. Kuypers
Business Development Manager

In my years working with LSA, it seems like I’ve had a personal consultant at my fingertips to help me identify just the right solution to satisfy our needs. The entire LSA team has become a trusted friend of Actel — assuring we provide state-of-the-art learning to meet our complex, high-tech business and people needs.

Linda Mitchell
Training Manager

I’ve been associated with LSA for the last 8 years and have found them to be an extremely professional, well managed full service training organization. Since working with LSA, I’ve participated in a number of solutions ranging from Performance Management to Assertiveness Training – I’ve found that the quality of the resources is superior. They are well prepared and have definitely done a considerable amount of pre-work in order to customize our culture and business into the total learning experience – making it most beneficial for our employees.

Duane Schroeder
Human Resource Manager

LSA has been a tremendous asset to my portfolio, both at my current company and my past company. As an HR leader, I am always looking for ways to find external resources that can provide a solution to our management training needs. LSA does that for me. Their solutions are presented in a much more leadership-oriented manner so as to be crisp, business relevant, and easy to apply right back on the job. I will continue to augment our programs using LSA solutions.

Ken Boehm
VP of Human Resources

We engaged LSA to design and deliver a 6-month custom executive coaching program for a group of our key leaders. The focus of the program was to help a core group of senior leaders to leverage previous investments in management training, to ensure the engagement and retention of key employees, and to push critical strategic initiatives forward. Even with the high expectations of our senior people, LSA has completely exceeded our expectations. I would recommend them to anyone looking to create and implement a custom coaching methodology using proven tools to drive true change.

Ivan Fukumoto
Senior HR Manager - Staffing, Training, & Development

Over the years, both at 3Com and now at Redback, I’ve found LSA Global to be a valuable resource. The recent compliance program that they delivered for Redback’s executive and management team was the right solution, of the highest of quality, and customized to our business and culture. I would highly recommend LSA to any company looking for top quality solutions.

Gina Fulton
Vice President of Human Resources

LSA exceeded all my expectations. We interviewed 7 potential training and consulting partners and selected LSA due to their expertise, flexibility, and breadth and depth of solutions. We were able to construct a management training course from the modules most appropriate to our needs, and are able to provide additional training from their well developed portfolio of experts. Our managers galvanized as a team throughout the session and are better prepared for the rigors of a competitive market.

Mitch Mandich
CEO

Edify

Evaluate your Performance

Toolkits

Toolkits

Download key published insights and tools from industry experts highlighting best practices in the areas of talent, strategy and culture.

More

Health Checks

Health Checks

Want to know how you stack up against leading organizations?  Receive a complimentary benchmarking analysis courtesy of an LSA Expert.

More

Whitepapers

Whitepapers

Get up to speed on timely solutions critical to your business. Published by LSA Experts based upon client feedback and key industry trends.

More

Methodology

Methodologies

First we identify the key metrics you want to improve. Then we assemble a dedicated team of elite experts who have successfully solved similar problems with similar clients.

More

Blogs

Stay up to do date with the latest information on how we help high growth companies align their culture and talent with strategy.

More

Case Studies

Client Case Studies

Real world consulting and training approaches from LSA projects, providing insights on how your company can outperform the competition.

More