Developing a Mission Statement and Values

While having an efficient business plan is always important, all businesses should have a specific mission, or vision, that is created by its owner. A mission statement should be well-thought, carefully defined, and should always be sincere. A well-written, sincere mission statement is a quick way to summarize the drive that is behind your organization and what it represents. Additionally, developing a future vision of your company serves as a guideline or policy for shareholders when they aren’t sure of the necessary actions to take in particular scenarios.

So what’s the procedure for writing an effective mission statement?

Mission statement

A mission statement doesn’t really have certain criteria or qualifications as far as length; it can be one sentence or several sentences. Instead, one should focus on honing the business’s philosophy and long-term plans into words. Essentially, your mission statement should reflect the core of your business’s drive.

To give you a better idea of what to focus on, anyone who reads your mission statement should be able to answer the following questions:

  • What does the business value the most?
  • What does the company hope to be?
  • What does this company stand for and what does it not represent?
  • What is the true value that the company offers to its customers?
  • What is the company’s target demographic?

A mission statement from McDonald’s accurately addresses all of these questions:

McDonald’s brand mission is to be our customers’ favorite place and way to eat and drink. Our worldwide operations are aligned around a global strategy called the “Plan to Win”, which center on an exceptional customer experience – People, Products, Place, Price and Promotion. We are committed to continuously improving our operations and enhancing our customers’ experience.

Their mission statement isn’t just a sentence, but several. It also answers what McDonald’s is and where it’s headed towards. By reading their statement, we can effectively decide what’s most important to this food corporation and the value it offers to its target demographic.

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Choosing your values

Though some of them have more, most companies have somewhere around three to five values that they define within a mission statement. A company’s mission statement is more important than people might realize, almost serving as a light sense of training. The mission statement serves as a guide or policy for any and all employees of the company and should additionally help guide everyone the right way when faced with a catastrophe. It’s when crisis happens that shows whether a company’s mission statement is really being upheld or not. On top of focusing on your company’s real drive and motivation, use impacting words that truly highlight what is valuable to your company.

 

As an example of a company presenting their values, here are FedEx’s:

 

People: We value our people and promote diversity in our workplace and in our thinking.
Service: Our absolutely, positively spirit puts our customers at the heart of everything we do.
Innovation: We invent and inspire the services and technologies that improve the way we work and live.
Integrity: We manage our operations, finances and services with honesty, efficiency and reliability.
Responsibility: We champion safe and healthy environments for the communities in which we live and work.
Loyalty: We earn the respect and confidence of our FedEx people, customers and investors every day, in everything we do.
Safety: We operate safely to protect our employees, customers, infrastructure, and equipment.

 

Simply upon reading this, we know what values are held the highest to FedEx and their workers know what they should value more in the company.

 

It should be genuine

 

Any company’s mission statement regarding their values should be completely straight-forward and honest, without exception. Using the Rolls-Royce Company for instance, their values are “trust, delivery, and excellence”. These defined values work well with their marketing tactics that are geared towards creating luxury vehicles and high-quality engines. If one of its values were “more for your money”, such as Target, then it would not be considered sincere because they produce luxury vehicles, which are more geared towards affluent shoppers. But, for the large retail corporation, it’s an honest statement.

 

It should be accessible

 

Your company’s mission statement and values are basically as important as the business plan. It might as well be part of the blueprints because it should define what your company is. So, after you’ve defined and written a great mission statement, make sure to make it readily accessible to anyone. Make sure to post your statement and values in an accessible place on your website and have your business plan writer or consult involve this vision in your plan. You want everyone to be able to find this, so you should also share this with potential investors should you have to pitch your business plan. Another great way to make it more of a “vision” and not just a “statement” is to put them up around your business and to introduce it to new hires early on. By doing this, you can ensure that there aren’t any doubts of the standards that are expected to be followed through by yours employees.

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Your statement should shine through all components of the company

 

It’s crucial for all parts of the business to abide by your company’s mission statement and values. Whether it’s choosing suppliers or hiring new workers, you should always be thinking in the mindset regarding the company’s mission statement and values. If a company fails to abide by its mission statement, it tends to discredit them. Referring again to the Rolls-Royce company, they recently were the defendant’s in a lawsuit filed by two former staff members who accused Rolls-Royce of using defective parts and hiding potentially harmful problems with the engines. If these accusations end of being accurate, the company may have to pay tall fines and suffer legal consequences. Moreover, if the accusations turn out to be true, this serves as a clear-cut instance of a company’s values not resonating throughout all aspects of business.

 

It can be challenging to create your company’s mission statement and values, but if you take the opportunity to thoughtfully put your business’s motivation and drive into words, then coming up with an impacting, precise statement is feasible.

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About the author

Matthew Khalili – MBA Business Consultant

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