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Part 3 - Defining a Successful Mission Statement


The mission statement, also sometimes known as the organisations purpose, outlines the organisations very reason for existence. They are often worded as follows:

Our Mission is to serve…(customers) with the…(products and services) in order to achieve…(why we exist).

Regardless of layout, it should leave readers with no doubt as to the following items:

  1. Why the organisation exists:

  • Societal need

  • Shareholder need

  1. What the organisation does (or aims to achieve):

  • Products/services

  1. Who the organisation does the work for:

  • Customers

  • Areas/Departments

  1. How the organisation operates:

  • Values/beliefs/philosophies

  • Capabilities

  • Activities/functions

The two key benefits that are provided by mission statements are that they:

  1. Provide focus and clarity as to the work that is completed; and

  2. Identify what the organisation does and why.

Tips for Creating a Mission Statement:

  • When developing a mission statement, it should:

  • Outline the way in which the organisations vision will be achieved (meaning it is critical for the mission statement to be aligned to both the vision and the core values);

  • Be short, clear and concise (normally consisting a couple of sentences or paragraphs);

  • Be feasible to achieve;

  • Provide focus and clarity as to what the organisation does and why it does it;

  • Be broad and continuing in nature - a mission statement often remains the same throughout the organisations life;

  • Be stated in terms of output rather than input; and

  • Inspire action through the use of effective and specific language. Every word counts and should be considered carefully.

Defining the Mission Statement:

Defining the mission statement for your organisation should begin with reviewing the current vision and core values. The mission should support the vision and allow the vision to become a reality. A good step by step approach might look something like this:

  1. Get your working group together and brainstorm the following questions:

  • What is the work that we do?

  • Why do we do this work and who will benefit from it?

  • How should we operate in order to achieve our vision and values?

  1. Keep a record of all of the responses.

  2. Sort through all of the ideas and pick out the key words that have come up consistently and best represent your organisation. Try to combine these into a mission that uses effective language to inspire action.

Sample Mission Statements of ASX200 Organisations:

  • Woodside: 'To deliver superior shareholder returns'.

  • Carsales.com: 'Driven by innovation, fuelled by passion – our talented team delivers world class products for our customers, building the best technology and innovative solutions'.

  • Flight Centre: ‘To open up the world for those who want to see’.

  • Macquarie Group Limited: 'Our purpose is to realise opportunity for the benefit of our clients, our shareholders and our people'.

  • Optus: 'Breaking Barriers, Building Bonds. We enable communication by breaking barriers and building bonds. We help businesses and people communicate anytime, and in many ways. We make communications easier, faster, more economical and reliable by breaking the barriers of distance, price, time, technology and the unknown; and building strong bonds among us, with our shareholders, customers and business partners. We believe that creating and delivering value to our customers, employees and shareholders is fundamental to our business'.

  • Salmat: 'Salmat’s purpose is to build deep, enduring and valued relationships with our clients, our people, our partners, our investors and the communities in which we operate'.

This is the third part in a series of posts on strategic planning. For the first part on 'Creating a Shared Vision of Success' or the second part on 'Developing Organisational Values' please visit my website pdisolutions.com.au. Stay tuned for further parts in this series.

PDI Solutions can work with organisations to create and implement an effective strategic plan. We follow five key steps. Step 1 (Environmental Scanning) and Step 2 (SWOT Analysis) are designed to review the work that your organisation does and a review of the organisations internal functioning. Step 3 is to define the organisations vision, mission, core values and objectives. Step 4 includes a full gap analysis between the desired state and the actual performance state. Step 5 is about pulling all of this information together into a strategic plan with key result areas. This step also looks at obstacles for implementation and change management.

This whole process takes approximately one week to work through thoroughly with numerous group exercises for leadership parties. This can also be completed over a longer period if desired.

Contact us today for a free consultation at info@pdisolutions.com.au or visit our website at pdisolutions.com.au.

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