One thing most organizations have in common is that they have some kind of mission statement that describes their purpose to the rest of the world. Some of these are bold, some are very descriptive and detailed, and some are focused on customer service as opposed to the product the company puts out. What is important is that these organizations communicate this sense of mission to their customers, employees, partners and affiliates so that they have a focus instead of just wandering from idea to idea as they pop up.
As a leader, having a mission statement is critical to keeping yourself focused and motivating others to achieve what you want them to do. You want to be able to very clearly frame your mission and why it’s important in your own mind and be able to articulate it to others clearly that they can remember it and share it with others without misinterpreting or changing it.
My Mission Statement
It can be very difficult to frame your mission statement clearly in your mind. I struggled for a long time to come up with the mission statement for Evil Genius Leadership. I knew the general thoughts and tone I wanted it to take, but putting into exact words was difficult. With a lot of thought, self-reflection and some coaching and advice from mentors and friends I finally was able to get it to crystallize in my mind as:
Create a generation of leaders focused on solving the problems faced by our communities, dedicated to making the world a better place, and committed to the personal and professional development necessary to be great leaders.
Crafting Your Mission Statement
Here’s some practical steps you can take to get your mission statement really clear in your mind:
Define the end state – This is the problem you’re trying to solve or the basic statement of what you believe the solution to that problem is. For my company the end state is the “generation of leaders” and the commitment to “personal and professional development” I didn’t intend for these statements to be bookends to the rest, but it turns out that it flows well that way and I think there’s a subconscious effect there of having the end state around the “why” pieces.
Tell the why – For me the “why” was I felt more leaders should be trying to solve “problems faced by our communities” and trying to make “the world a better place”. This was the core of my frustration several years ago and was what drove me to become a coach to help people become the kind of leaders I thought could best help our communities.
Be Clear – Choose your words carefully. It’s important to make your words specific and really hone them to get across your exact meaning. If you are finding that your words are vague or generic, use the thesaurus feature on your computer or phone to look up synonyms and really get the exact meanings of words to shine through. This will also help you with the next step.
Be Concise – Try to keep it short, just a sentence or two that you (and other people) will be able to repeat in their own minds and to others. If your mission statement is 2 or 3 paragraphs long people will have a hard time remembering it and there will probably some different interpretations of what you really mean.
Make it Memorable – Following the other steps will definitely help make your mission statement memorable. In addition to being clear and concise, using active voice and choosing words that convey your passion for your mission will really make it stick!
One final tip – don’t try to articulate your whole life’s mission statement right of the bat. Start with a project you are working on or a personal goal. Get that mission statement clear in your mind and then follow through on it. Find a second project and create a solid mission statement for that. After you’ve put a few of them together compare them and see if they are consistent with each other and your bigger goals in life. Once you see how they relate to each other, you can write a mission statement for those larger goals and then re-write your smaller mission statements (if necessary) to fit underneath the larger one.
Share your mission statements with us in the comments! If you’re having trouble, contact us and we’ll give you a hand putting together a clear, concise mission statement that will get yourself and other people moving!
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