Building A Mission Statement: Part Two: What’s In A Mission Statement?

Alright, so I went for a walk after my last article, and now I’m calmed down a bit. So let’s find out how poorly my little rant compares to what a mission statement actually should contain.

Naturally, I started with Google. I clicked on five links, none for terribly good reasons, and ended up at Wikipedia, Bplans.org, WealthManagement.com, the Center for Business Planning, and Idealist.org. Only four of these articles directly define the idea of the mission statement, though I’d like to come back to the WealthManagement article at some point.

Wikipedia currently calls it “a statement which is used as a way of communicating the purpose of the organization”, and that it should “provide ‘the framework or context within which the company’s strategy are formulated.'” The CPB provides a document from Business Resource Software, Inc., which notes that that any statement “should be clear and succinct”, “[incorporating ] socially meaningful and measurable criteria addressing concepts such as the moral/ethical position of the enterprise, public image, the target market, products/ services, the geographic domain and expectations of growth and profitability.”

Idealist.org, which focus on starting non-profits, focus more on what makes a good mission statement, offering two versions. One is a single-sentence encapsulation of “who the agency is […], what it does, for whom and where”, offered by Ron Meshanko of Ecumenical Resource Consultants in Washington, DC. The other (from The Support Center, of San Francisco, California) suggests a larger document, describing the purpose, business, and values of the defined organization.

Finally, Tim Berry at Bplans.org describes the corporate mission statement as “your opportunity to define the company’s goals, ethics, culture, and norms for decision-making

Just thinking off the top of my head, I have a lot left to think about. My angry discussion doesn’t really define its contexts at all, nor does it include any discussion of ethical values, products, or whatever the internet equivalent of “the geographic domain” is. I’m off to try and fix that.

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