What Is a Mission Statement?

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A mission statement describes the fundamental purpose of an entity. It answers the question “Why does our company (or nonprofit agency) exist?” The mission statement outlines the company’s purpose for employees and the general public.

Find out how companies craft their mission statements, what makes them successful and examples from large corporations.

What is a mission statement?

A mission statement can be a short sentence or paragraph that describes the purpose of a nonprofit, business, or other entity. Mission statements are about why the company exists and how it is created. A mission statement, in other words, is not a business plan that describes how an entity will make a profit. It’s a statement about the motivation to try and turn a profit.

A mission statement should not be confused with a vision declaration. A vision statement is focused on the future, while a mission statement looks at the company’s current state. The mission statement answers the question, “Who are you?” The vision statement answers the question Where are you going?

Examples of mission statements

These are mission statements from some well-known businesses and government agencies.

  • Amazon: “Our mission to be the most customer-centric company on Earth is our mission. This is what unites Amazonians across geographies and teams as they strive to delight customers and make their lives easier one innovative product, service, and idea at the time. “1
  • Tesla: Tesla’s mission is “to accelerate the world’s shift to sustainable energy.” “2
  • Costco: “At Costco, our mission is simple but very important: To provide quality goods and services at affordable prices to all of our members. “3
  • Internal Revenue Service (IRS: “Provide America’s taxpayers with top-quality service by helping to understand and meet their tax obligations and enforce the law with integrity, fairness, and justice for all. “4
  • General Services Administration (GSA: “Deliver Value and Savings in Real Estate, Acquisition, Technology, and Other Mission-support Services across Government.”

How mission statements work

The definition of a mission statement is often a result of group consensus. Writing a mission statement can be an excellent team-building exercise. The statement can be quickly distributed to explain the overall goals of the entity once it has been created.

Mission statements are an integral part of a company’s public image and are often used in company marketing. They are often included in the bio section on a company’s website. Sometimes, a company’s mission statements can even become the core of its advertising campaigns.

A mission statement, when well-crafted, can give an organization a clear focus and encourage employees to work together towards a common goal. Poorly written mission statements can be filled with jargon or the latest buzzwords and may have unattainable or unrealistic goals that could negatively impact employee morale.

A coherent and realistic mission statement is essential for engaging employees and achieving corporate goals. Participating in the creation phase of the mission statement can help improve its strength. This helps to create a sense that everyone is involved in crafting the mission statement. In the mission statement, you can also recognize your employees’ contributions and talents.

 

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