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Do You Say “Yes” or “No” to Mission Statements?

When was the last time you thought about your mission statement? Are you following it or did you just stick it in a drawer somewhere? If you are working for a company that’s not your own, maybe you haven’t even seen it. Go look on the website right now and see if your mission statement speaks to you.

Mission Statement Don’ts

I have seen enough mission statements on websites that leave me feeling disconnected. They just don’t say anything. And that’s the problem. For example, let’s look at Macy’s.

Our vision is to operate Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s as dynamic national brands while focusing on the customer offering in each store location.

[Yawn.] How many stores use a statement like that?

Maybe that ‘s the reason we had a vigorous debate about the effectiveness of mission statements at the NoVA Business Referral Roundtable & Mastermind last Thursday. As we went around the table, we all agreed (in essence) the mission statement was critical. Except for one person.

As he spoke about his business, it became clear that he had a mission statement formed in his head. But he obviously didn’t see the reason to write it down. To his point, too many companies have created generic mission statements that stand for nothing.

Mission Statement Do’s

The reason for a mission statement? They answer why. If aptly described, they inspire you. And, that makes you different in the view of the employees and consumers.

“To be a teacher. And to be known for inspiring my students to be more than they thought they could be.”
Oprah Winfrey

Oprah describes her mission as being a teacher. For her, that means being on TV and publishing a magazine. If she and her staff makes all their decisions with this in mind, Oprah and her staff observe their mission perfectly.

Be Inspirational

If you want a mission statement (and I think you do because it tells employees, customers, and venture capitalists what you stand for) you have to start with why. By making it inspiring employees, customers, or vendors will also be advocates.

If have read this post and like it, please come to the NoVA Business Referral Roundtable & Mastermind. We have conversations that will make you think strategically about how you run your business. And, its fun!

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