Sunday, October 4, 2009

How long should a mission statement be and does it have to reflect the current reality?

I received a good question from Deb and with her permission am sharing this because I think it will be useful to other people as well - how long should a mission statement be and if you are just starting out, does it have to reflect current reality. This is what i think:

You mission statement needs to be authentic and yes truthful, but truthful to the vision you have for the future - so what you are saying is not maybe happening today but it is what your purpose is and your activities and energy are directed towards meeting that vision. So, it does include your over all purpose, some idea of how you are going to achieve that, and what is unique about.

I do not believe there is one format for all organizations - profit and non profit. Each organization needs to communicate its authentic voice in how many ever words they choose, as long as it is meaningful and clearly communicates what difference you are making to this world in your unique way. For example, if you look at's mission, they have a video and then a text version which runs pretty long, but it conveys what they are about - some of it through the words they use and also using a video shows they are innovative in their approach - so some of what gets conveyed is through other symbols, images, and other ways of communication.

Check out's Mission

Women's Fund of western Ma defines their mission and then states their vision and how they are going to get there:
Check out Mission of Women's Fund

And then Bioneers has a full page to describe their Mission and point to how they intend to reach their goals.
Check out Bioneer's Mission

I think it is important to communicate your authentic story, what is your vision, and how you as a unique individual/organization will work towards that vision - say it your own way - get ideas how others do it, but it has to be your voice and your own way of communicating as long as it clearly highlights your purpose, unique qualities, and how you will get there. It should be written keeping the long term in mind, but this is not to say you can never change it. Especially, when we are starting out new, we may start at one place but as we start talking to people and studying the environment, we may find there is a greater need for another related area and that may become your mission or at least contribute to the mission.

Think big
Think long term
Be honest
Be authentic
Share your unique strengths
And share how you make a difference

Can also refer to the article translating inner purpose into an authentic mission statement and that exercise will also help to identify key words that are important to you and should come through in your mission statement.

No comments:

Post a Comment