Why You Need a Mission Statement!
As human beings, we are hungry for meaning. We desperately want and need to feel as though we have figured out how to live so that our lives matter. What frustrates us and throws us out of balance is the absence of meaning. Which brings us to wonder, does our being here matter? Having a purpose in life makes it easier for people to strive to be consistently better day in and day out. The positive core values, mutual accountability and constant striving for self-improvement helps one to be a better person.
That being said, I believe that individuals as well as companies should have a mission statement, vision statement and tagline or slogan. Not only because they create a meaning and a purpose, they also lay out a tangible set of standards, expectations and goals for individuals to strive for and expect. The difference between a mission statement, a vision statement and a tagline or slogan is as much in the purpose as it is in the audience it is designed for.
A mission statement defines the purpose and primary objectives. Its prime function is internal — to define the key measure or measures of success. Just look at Disneyland’s mission statement: “To be one of the world’s leading producers and providers of entertainment and information. Using our portfolio of brands to differentiate our content, services and consumer products, we seek to develop the most creative, innovative and profitable entertainment experiences and related products in the world.”
A vision statement also defines purpose, but this time it does so in terms of values or guiding beliefs, not in bottom-line measurements. It is meant to motivate and inspire. The vision statement communicates both the purpose and values of an individual or organization. Disneyland’s vision statement is short, but powerful: “To make people happy!”
The tagline or slogan is a quick, but equally powerful phrase. It represents the tone and feeling you want associated with your services. It should be part of the marketing campaign and be included in all of your company’s graphics, logos and letterhead. It stays with you all the time. Disneyland’s tagline: “The happiest place on Earth.”
These statements, slogans and taglines don’t predict the future — they create it. Without them, a business and even an individual is like a ship without a rudder and is in danger of drifting aimlessly. So many of us constantly get caught up in day-to-day tasks without a clear understanding of what needs to bond individual actions and re-actions together. As a result, we lose sight of where we are headed and what we are working for.
Your statements, which represent your purpose and your values, should always be front and center. You might even consider having them hang on a wall, where they’ll be clearly visible. If you own a a business, let them become the cornerstone of the organization, its purpose or meaning. It lets employees know that every decision they make and every action they take will be tested and judged against these documents, and it shapes the customers’ understanding of why they should work with the organization. Your statements create the framework and inspiration for your purpose and fuse the relationship between vision and action.
Eric Claman is the CEO of Karma Consultants. Specializing in helping startups, health clubs and tennis facilities reach their short term goals and long term success. Eric can be reached at (860) 689-3414 or firstname.lastname@example.org.