Myth: Mission Statements Should Never Change
It’s probably safe to say that all of us work in a business that has a mission statement (quick, can you think of
yours right now?). Some of us probably have even been involved in creating one. If so, then you know that a mission statement is designed to be a short, direct
statement of purpose. While small in word count, it is huge when it comes to its role within an organization.
A mission statement provides businesses with their reason for being, their sense of direction, and their guide
for goal-setting and decision-making. In fact it could be said that a mission statement serves as the foundation upon which businesses are built and run. So, while business plans and action steps may change from year to year, mission statements, once created, are written in stone. Right? Well...
First of all let me start with an apology to all of you (and your teams or board members) who have spent hours, days, even weeks or more agonizing over the best wording for a mission statement that perfectly captures the essence of your organization. With a goal like that, it’s no wonder that no one wants to change it once it’s done!
But with the growth, market changes, and course corrections that businesses go through every year, original mission statements can, quite frankly, become irrelevant. Just saying that feels like sacrilege, I know. But let me clarify. I’m not recommending that you throw the baby out with the bath water; rather, I strongly encourage taking a new look at your mission statement this fourth-quarter when planning for the New Year. Does it still capture the essence of your business? Is it in synch with your goals for next year?
Author Sharlyn Lauby recommends revisiting your mission every fourth quarter, just like you would do with your strategic plan, and make sure it still resonates with: 1) the activities your business does now, 2) the things your business wants to do in the future, and 3) the steps needed to take in order to follow that original road map.
For as much weight as we give to them, our mission statements tend to get created, used in marketing materials, but then taken for granted and tucked into our back pockets while we get on with planning and running
our business. During last year’s fourth quarter, when you created plans and goals for the New Year, were they aligned with your mission statement? Did you even really think about or look at your mission statement? My guess is that you pulled out your strategic plan, which may have been built around an original mission statement, but, as we all know, strategic plans are fluid documents that change as our businesses change. Shouldn’t our mission statements do the same?
Do you have your company mission statement in place?