How To Write a Mission Statement

Posted by ptheibert on July 7, 2014 at 11:40 AM


Write a Purpose Statement, - Not a Mission Statement

Your Employees Need a Sense of Purpose

In a previous article we discussed the Problem of the Commons. Simply stated if there is no sense of obligation to a larger entity, be it a company, or a state, or a nation, why shouldn't every man be in it for himself.

The classic example was the buffalo herds. There was no one "in charge" of the buffalo herds and every man shot as many buffalo as he could. After all, the more buffalo I shoot, the more money I make selling hides. There was no sense of obligation to preserve the buffalo, there was no greater purpose, the only objective was to make money.

Whoops, we almost bypassed an important word. Purpose. Buffalo hunting was merely a money making game with no sense of a higher purpose.

That brings us to the gist of this article. If you want your company to succeed, you must establish a sense of loyalty and purpose in your employees. They must have a purpose they are working for. And that will lead us to mission statements, eventually.

But let's talk about purpose. Let's say you are a tree chopper and the first day your boss tells you to go out and cut ten trees. You do that and the boss is so pleased that the next day he asks you to cut down 12 trees. You take your handy little ax, stroll out to the forest and chop down 12 trees. Well this continues, and at the end of the month, the boss has you chopping down 20 trees a day.

But you are dissatisfied, as you realize this could go on forever. The boss can keep raising the number of trees you chop down, until one day you lay down exhausted and just can't chop down any more trees. Heck, then he will replace you and get some one younger and stronger to chop down trees.

The boss has given you no purpose for chopping down trees. He didn't inspire you by saying how the trees you chopped down helped make homes for people or even a simple wooden deck where friends and family could gather. That would at least given you a sense of purpose. A reason to keep cutting down trees.

And while the boss had you chop down trees, you were feeling used. When you were worn out, why wouldn't he cast you aside? He didn't show his loyalty by offering vacations, benefits, bonuses.

And the boss had violated a basic tenet of bossdom. Whenever two or more employees are gathered, tell them, and keep telling them the purpose of their work. Stress the higher goal you, as a team, are all working for.

This all can be quickly encapsulated by the classic story of brick layers.

A gentleman saw three men laying bricks..He approached the first and asked, "What are you doing?"

Annoyed, the first man answered, "What does it look like I'm doing? I'm laying bricks!"

He walked over to the second bricklayer and asked the same question.

The second man responded, "Oh, I'm making a living."

He asked the third bricklayer the same question, "What are you doing?"

The third looked up, smiled and said, "I'm building a cathedral.

The third had a sense of purpose.

Okay , I apologize for that old story. But it does finally leads us to the importance of mission statements. Do not think of them as mission statements. They are really purpose statements and are designed to let employees and customers know why your company exists Of course the obvious answer is "to make money", but as we saw with our tree-chopping story, that answer will rarely inspire employees or give them a "sense of purpose", a higher calling if you will.

So I repeat, your mission statement is really your purpose statement.

Consider this rather lengthy mission statement from Starbucks:

To inspire and nurture the human spirit- one person, one cup, and one neighborhood at a time. Here are the principles of how we live that every day:

Our Coffee

It has always been, and will always be, about quality. We're passionate about ethically sourcing the finest coffee beans, roasting them with great care, and improving the lives of people who grow them. We care deeply about all of this; our work is never done.

Our Partners

We're called partners, because it's not just a job, it's our passion. Together, we embrace diversity to create a place where each of us can be ourselves. We always treat each other with respect and dignity. And we hold each other to that standard.

Our Customers

When we are fully engaged, we connect with, laugh with, and uplift the lives of our customers- even if just for a few moments. Sure, it starts with the promise of a perfectly made beverage, but our work goes far beyond that. It's really about human connection.

Our Stores

When our customers feel this sense of belonging, our stores become a haven, a break from the worries outside, a place where you can meet with friends. It's about enjoyment at the speed of life-sometimes slow and savored, sometimes faster. Always full of humanity.

Our Neighborhood

Every store is part of a community, and we take our responsibility to be good neighbors seriously. We want to be invited in wherever we do business. We can be a force for positive action- bringing together our partners, customers, and the community to contribute every day. Now we see that our responsibility-and our potential for good-is even larger. The world is looking to Starbucks to set the new standard, yet again. We will lead.

Our Shareholders

We know that as we deliver in each of these areas, we enjoy the kind of success that rewards our shareholders. We are fully accountable to get each of these elements right so that Starbucks-and everyone it touches-can endure and thrive.


Okay , some of that may sound like nonsense to you. But you have to admire what Starbucks is trying to accomplish with that mission statement. Above all, they are trying to tell their employees, customers and communities why they exist. The PURPOSE behind Starbucks, And if employees buy into that purpose, they won't see Starbucks as a commons, where they grab what they want and leave. They see themselves as part of a community effort, striving towards some basic, worthwhile goals.

Let's take a quick gander at McDonald's mission statement:

"McDonald's vision is to be the world's best quick service restaurant experience. Being the best means providing outstanding quality, service, cleanliness, and value, so that we make every customer in every restaurant smile."

Okay - again note the sense of purpose embedded in that mission statement. To make every customer smile.

Finally State Farm sells insurance. And I have been meaning to talk to my agent about my high premiums. But to an employee, State Farm makes it clear that they exist for a purpose higher than selling insurance. Again note the sense of purpose embedded in the mission statement:

State Farm: "To educate and build relationships with our current and future customers. To establish and preserve our neighborhoods and schools, and to demonstrate the good neighbor philosophy through our education and safety programs, volunteer efforts and our alliances with many diverse communities."

Okay, let's wrap this baby up.

You always want to avoid "The Problems of the Commons" in your company, where every employee, much like a buffalo hunter, is in it for themselves. To imbue a sense of belonging and teamwork in employees, you must take their work out of the mundane world of hourly labor and imbue it with a sense of purpose. And you must communicate that sense of purpose to employees "when and wherever two or more are gathered."

That sense of purpose must be crystallized in a mission statement. View a mission statement more as a "purpose statement" stating the higher reasons your company exists.



Categories: None

Post a Comment


Oops, you forgot something.


The words you entered did not match the given text. Please try again.

Already a member? Sign In


Reply JohnnieSluro
6:02 PM on June 28, 2017 
Downloads WEB Scene Music FLAC/mp3 1990-2017 Private FTP
Reply Smitha32
11:29 AM on March 9, 2018 
An interesting dialogue is worth comment. I feel that you must write more on this topic, it won't be a taboo subject but typically people are not sufficient to speak on such topics. To the next. Cheers ckkebbbfacbfekgd
Reply neodymium magnets n52
7:52 PM on July 11, 2018 
I think the admin of this page is genuinely working hard in support of his web page, since here every data is quality based material.
neodymium magnets n52 https://ticketbud.com/events/592c778c-83ea-11e8-86ce-c78630fa7449
Reply madden 19 gamestop
7:52 PM on July 11, 2018 
ost but I was wondering if you could write a litte more on this subject? I'd be very thankful if you could elaborate a little bit further. Thanks!
madden 19 gamestop https://sambellamy.pressbooks.com/chapter/madden-19-game-let-me-s
Reply Jeff Jennings
1:41 AM on July 16, 2018 
Hi, My name is Jeff, I work as a Business Consultant, and was doing research for another client when I came across your site writingcoachnow.com. and thought I would message you on your contact form.

After doing a quick analysis of your website, I noticed a couple of issues that are most likely causing people to leave without making contact.
I really liked your website but noticed you weren't getting a lot of traffic to your site and your Alexa ranking wasn't as strong as it could be.


I can get 1,000_s of visitors looking at writingcoachnow.com, ready to buy your product, service or signup for your offer. Our advertising network of over 9000 websites provides a low cost and effective online marketing solution that actually works. We can help your business get more online quality traffic by advertising your business on websites that are targeted to your market.
The internet is a vast entity and kick starting your online business doesn_t have to take a ridiculous amount of cash.
We_ll send real people to see your web site starting almost immediately!

In fact, I can get 10,000 highly targeted visitors to your website for as little as $29 just so you can test out our service.

Right now to make things really exciting you can get 200,000 Targeted visitors to you site in 30 days for only $199. If you'd like to talk personally please give me a call at 480-457-0165 9 to 5 MST USA.

I have a short video here that explains how everything works https://toptargetseo.com

Reply LeroyRot
4:44 PM on July 23, 2018 

vmate is surely an software package that allows you to best free download
url=http://www.vmate.com/ says...
music moreover songs upon Youtube, Metacafe, Vimeo, Soundcloud and furthermore via other great famous media resources. this situation app allow you to downloads various clips or else songs of numerous traits. certainly, achievable to stream any sort of quality of the training video or maybe a melody that you need to. one might download and install full high-definition (hi-def) short clips following nicely. All executive and working get websites are supplied over here and likewise don worry about that in. It means that you can follow along the video lessons or songs together with out them to be
url=http://www.vmate.com/ says...
downloadable. free download - vmate application.
Reply red panda onesie
8:42 AM on August 1, 2018 
In fact no matter if someone doesn't understand afterward its up to other visitors that they will help, so here it occurs.
red panda onesie https://wellpajamas-ville3.webnode.com/best-gifts-for-your-family
Reply adult animal onesies
8:42 AM on August 1, 2018 
Hello there, just was aware of your weblog through Google, and found that it's really informative. I am going to be careful for brussels. I will be grateful in the event you continue this in future. A lot of folks will probably be benefited out of your writing. Cheers!
adult animal onesies https://laurenjoyce.carbonmade.com/projects/6909273
Reply stitch pajamas
8:42 AM on August 1, 2018 
Heya i'm for the first time here. I came across this board and I find It really useful & it helped me out a lot. I hope to give something back and help others like you helped me.
stitch pajamas https://ruthpaula1.yolasite.com/
Reply stitch onesies
8:42 AM on August 1, 2018 
Greetings from Colorado! I'm bored to tears at work so I decided to check out your site on my iphone during lunch break. I enjoy the knowledge you provide here and can't wait to take a look when I get home. I'm shocked at how quick your blog loaded on my mobile .. I'm not even using WIFI, just 3G .. Anyways, superb site!
stitch onesies https://marionbrossett.page.tl/Why-we-claim-unicorn-onesie-is-goo
Reply stitch adult onesie
8:42 AM on August 1, 2018 
I got this site from my friend who told me on the topic of this website and at the moment this time I am browsing this web site and reading very informative articles at this place.
stitch adult onesie https://ruthpaula1.yolasite.com/
Reply GaiverSluro
11:08 PM on August 7, 2018 

Downloads music club Dj's, mp3 private server.

Private FTP Music/Albums/mp3 1990-2018:
Plan A: 20 EUR - 200GB - 30 Days
Plan B: 45 EUR - 600GB - 90 Days
Plan C: 80 EUR - 1500GB - 180 Days

Best Regards,
Reply Magsmope
3:06 PM on August 17, 2018 
url=https://soyuz-magov-rossii.com says...
url=https://soyuz-magov-rossii.com says...