leadership, strategic thinking

Missions – Do you have one? Do you need one?

Beliefs about missions vary greatly.  Some believe a mission is just a bunch of words.  Others believe a mission guides an organization or individual.  I believe in the latter and that a mission is needed and necessary to maintain some continuity.  As stated in a Forbes article on Corporate Missions, ” …a company needs an anchoring ideology to guide it. When management priorities become strictly driven by short-term business performance considerations, and business transactions are handled on an ad hoc, case-by-case basis, companies often lose their business — and sometimes even their moral — compass.”

A Mission Followed…

For personal reasons or corporate reasons, a mission should help to maintain alignment in decision making.  If followed well it can drive an organization.  One of the most public acts of not following the mission is Wells Fargo Bank.  Their mission is, “What’s right for our customers in everything we do.”  In 2017, Wells Fargo Bank was found practicing illegal credit transactions with a large number of customers.  Clearly, in this case Wells Fargo Bank didn’t follow their mission.   Like any strategy or even a policy, it isn’t going to save the day by having it.  It needs to be followed.

When missions are followed, companies are well connected to the words they broadcast.  For Google, their mission is “To organize the worlds information and make it universally accessible and useful.”   Google lives this mission to their employees and customers.  The mission of Southwest Airlines is “Dedication to the highest quality of Customer Service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and Company Spirit. We are committed to provide our Employees a stable work environment with equal opportunity for learning and personal growth.”  For years customers and employees of Southwest Airlines have felt this mission.   The point is that these words can maintain the continuity for people on both sides of your business.


Missing a Mission

For those of you in business, that are missing a mission, here are a few thoughts to consider on creating your mission.

A mission should include:

  • Why we do what we do?
  • What do we do?
  • Why we do what we do?
  • How we do it?
  • Whom we do it for?
  • What value do we provide?

A mission should inspire!

A mission can be creative.  If it takes creativity to inspire, then go for it.  If you include all the pieces above but forget to inspire then following the mission could be less possible.

Consider the above thoughts on missions, and as usual I invite you to build on this post.  An interactive audience enables learning for us all.


(1) https://www.forbes.com/sites/lensherman/2017/04/03/corporate-mission-statements-dont-really-matter-unless-you-want-to-be-a-great-leader/#6a36b64e2246

1 thought on “Missions – Do you have one? Do you need one?”

  1. After a mission is defined, core values should be identified. Core values help guide “how” the mission is carried out.


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