Mission. Vision. Values. Chances are if you are a leading a business, these words are not new, yet many of us see these as must have concepts to publish on our websites rather than shared core principles that direct our businesses.
While the vision and values are essential, the mission is the foundation of the core principles. By starting with a well-thought out mission, we can cast vision and live out our values along the way.
So what makes a good mission statement? Five key ingredients make an effective mission statement.
Inspiring. It needs to excite us in our heart of hearts. Ideally, a good mission statement will function in our lives much as the cry “Semper Fi!” functions for a Marine. It says in a few words what grips us and moves us to action.
Short and easy to remember. If it is too long, it will be unworkable, unmemorable, and fall into disuse. It needs to be concise, ideally just one sentence or two at the most.
Constructed so that you may use it as a decision-making tool, or arbiter, so that daily decisions needed to operate the business accordingly can be informed, evaluated, and measured by it. A mission statement that is not used routinely in the decision-making processes of a business is of little consequence. An excellent mission statement permeates an organization, serving as a plumb line used to guide actions and decisions even to the lowest levels of the organization.
Reflect your heart as the owner or chief executive. If you don’t own it and model it, no one else will own it either.
Continually inspire, reinforce, and excite your sense of ministry. Having a mission statement that talks about universal operating characteristics such as quality, excellence, relationships, and service is a good start, but indistinguishable from purely secular businesses. Somehow, a truly effective mission statement needs to stir our hearts for the primary purpose of God, through us, in business. Although this can be done in many ways to increase our effectiveness in ministry, it must remind us that ministry is an essential and integrated element of our business.