What constitutes a good mission statement

A mission statement, part of strategic management, is a formal written statement which projects the purpose for the organizations` existence. It sets out the overall goal and direction of the company according to which company lay out its core values and vision.There is a misconception that mission statements cannot lead to success. Its true, but an organization not having its mission statement may fail as well. It is this mission statement through which organization can identify its path in life and can lay out its moral and corporate strategies. It can help an organization to position itself differently than others.Many companies found them in trouble because they fail to deliver the promise entail in mission statement. The reason for this is that very few CEOs pay any attention towards aligning the mission statement to company`s goals. Many don’t even realize to have one. Many mission statements are commonplace and simple like “our company provide good service” or “to be the best company.” It is important to change your approach and update the mission statement continually to reflect your business growth and it should be aligned to company`s goals as well.After this, company should ultimately move towards setting out the values to achieve the mission and vision. Values describe the standard behaviors and ethical actions to be followed at workplace. They should have the action factor, that is, action-oriented so that people can be held accountable for not taking action (Welch, & Welch, 2008).Five Criteria for writing a mission statement:The main question is how to create a captivating mission statement? Many companies pay thousands of dollars for the purpose of drafting a mission statement. Here are some elements which can help to constitute a mesmerized mission statement (along with justification of those elements) without contacting any website or agency dedicated to writing mission statements:1.      As a part of a strategic management process, mission statement should be aligned with goals and objectives of the company. Find out what business the company is engaged into, what goals it is pursuing and its purpose for existence, and then lay out the mission statement in accordance with these goals. It will help company to know what promises it has to deliver and customers will know that what this company can do for them.2.      Mission statement should be inspiring and enthusiastic, be creative and innovative while gaining ideas on writing mission statement. Inspirational and graspable mission statement will create curiosity among people to know more about the organization. For e.g.: “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful” (Google).3.      Mission statement should be simple and clear. There is no need to have earth moving statement. It should neither be too broad nor too short. Kotler said “mission statement should be long as such it can take no more than 5 minutes to read it aloud” (Kotler, 1996). It should embody the goals and purpose of the organization in well structured words. This will help to understand it easily. For e.g.:  “Our mission and values are to help people and businesses throughout the world realize their full potential” (Microsoft) (Kapenda, 2008).4.      A good mission statement is the one which can describe the competitive edge of the organization. It must entails an answer to the question that why customer should use their products, or what different they are doing than other. Look for your competitors` mission statements and try creating something different than others. Focus on your organizations` strength and core competency and make it your mission. It will make your company stand out tactfully among others and will show the customers that how your company is different. For e.g.: “To preserve and improve human life” (Merck).5.      Mission statement should be present oriented. Mission statement should describe what is to be done and what goals to be achieved now. It works on present goals unlike vision statement. (Business knowledge source, 2010).Five Criteria for writing a vision statement:A vision statement of a company describes the future sight of the company. It is a description of at what stage company wants to reach and what it wants to achieve. Here the target audience is same as that in mission statement, but being a future oriented it motivates employees to work on ultimate goals rather than on immediate goals. Let`s have a look at five elements that can make up a good visionary statement for an organization along with justification of those elements:1.      A good vision statement should have a factor of being realistic. A newly introduced company describing its vision as “to dominate the market and overtake the company of Microsoft” is not a realistic one! It should be rather “See the good in people, and try to develop those qualities.” (Marriott).2.      Vision must be credible to members and employees of organization. The purpose of vision is to project enthusiasm into employees not to direct them; this purpose can be fulfilled when it will entail the factor of being credible. When employees will figure out the vision’s relevance with them, they will feel energetic to work on achieving the future goals.3.      The vision statement must be future oriented. It must be a projection of where the company wants to go, not where it is standing today. It helps organization to get out of the current problems and focus on the visionary goals. It orients you on where the company is to be headed. For e.g.:”Everything will turn out alright if we just keep in motion, forever moving forward.” (Motorola).4.      The most compelling vision statements are the one which have the ability to attract commitment and foster energy, confidence and inspiration into employees. It can help to motivate employees and they will feel confident and energetic after having a glance at their organizations` vision statement. When they will see that organization is committed to its vision then they will also work towards achieving the vision. For e.g.: “To achieve sustainable growth, we have established a vision with clear goals.” (Coca-Cola).5.      Last but not the least, vision needs to be well articulated. A vision statement should be clearly written in terms of future so as to motivate people and easily understood by all. It should neither be too long nor too terse. It must be more than a slogan, but at the same time must not be too long in a form of a heavy document. It should be like: “Sell good merchandise at a reasonable price; treat your customers like you would your friends, and the business will take care of itself.” (L.L. Bean) (National Defense University, n.d.).Comparison of Mission and Vision statements` criteria:Below is the description of resemblances and disparities between the mission and vision statements` above stated elements:Resemblance:·         The elements of enthusiastic, energetic, inspirational and innovative are common to both mission and visions statements. Both should be able to motivate the stakeholders through these characteristics.·         Both mission and vision statements should also be well structured and well articulated. They should be written in simple and easy words so that everyone can understand it to its full potential. There is no need to make them complex.Disparity:·         The main difference between mission and vision statement is their timeline. Mission statement tends to be present oriented while vision is future oriented. Mission statement provides simple description on what is the company`s purpose and goal and what is to be done now to achieve that goal whereas vision statement elaborates in detail the visionary goals and stage where the company wants to reach, it is not about what is to achieve now, it is about what the company wants to achieve in future.However, mission and vision alone not suffice, there is a dire need of value statement as well that can direct on how to help company to attain its mission and vision. It is a statement that instructs on what qualities to take into so as to attain our dreams (Stepcase Lifehack, 2005).