Just imagine you are at a Chamber Luncheon and someone asks you “What is your mission?”  If you can’t answer that question immediately and succulently all the fairy dust in the world won’t motivate people to follow you.  Being the capitalist that I am, the unwritten ending to any for-profit business mission will be “and make money”.  But what comes before needs to inspire and NOT rely on the charisma of the leader.  A good mission will speak to employees, customers and stakeholders.  Furthermore, I’m partial to mission statements that every employee can repeat easily.  That means often less than 20 words. 

A mission is useful when hiring at all levels.  With entry level employees, the mission will give them a quick idea of what they are expect to accept.  If they can’t understand the mission or don’t buy into it’s premises, they will know that they are not the right choice.  At the leadership level, a leader will know if they can support the statement and get others to follow.  Sometimes, when I am helping a small business refine a mission statement, there is the desire to put everything into the mission – vision and core values are separate yet important support to the health of a business and its mission. 

Remember, your mission is what gets you excited and energized each and every day.  If it excites you, your staff will see your excitement and most will join in the adventure. 

Here are some for companies that I know and use:

Starbucks:  to inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time. 

Toyota:  To sustain profitable growth by providing the best customer experience and dealer support. 

DuPont:  Sustainable Growth: Increasing shareholder and societal value while reducing our environmental footprint. 

St Luke’s Hospital in Maumee: Improve your health and well-being by promising to put our Patients first. Always.

The Andersons:  We channel our time, talent and energy in pursuit of fundamental goal of serving God by service to others.

Ebay:  global, social, and entrepreneurial trading that is enabled by eBay’s Internet ecommerce systems and services.

Amazon:  Our vision is to be earth’s most customer centric company; to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online.

Facebook:  Give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected.

What is your Mission?  Please share your mission.