Have you ever wondered what it is that makes a mission statement great? The key is to keep it simple: Outline what it is your organization wants to do (the problem you are solving), but don't be vague. Your mission statement should be attainable, but also inspirational.
Why is a mission statement so important? One of the biggest reasons is that it represents the common purpose for the organization. Each member of the team will have a unique background, belief structure, and expertise. Not every team member will be the same. In fact, organizations thrive with team diversity, as long as the team understands what the common purpose of the organization is (i.e. the vision, mission & goals). By clearly outlining your company mission statement, you are communicating to your team, your customers, and the world what your organization aims to achieve.
Here are some of our favourite mission statements:
- Patagonia: "Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis".
Why it’s a good mission statement: Patagonia aims to create products that truly last. By creating environmentally responsible, durable products, they follow through on their mission. Patagonia actually aims to decrease their annual sales, as outlined in a New Yorker article, "Patagonia’s Anti Growth Strategy".
Because they have such a strong mission statement that supports many emerging societal values, they can create a strong brand awareness and a loyal customer base, by having a great product without contributing to the fast fashion crisis.
Our video walkthrough provides a complete walkthrough of the strategic planning process:
- SpaceX: "SpaceX designs, manufactures and launches advanced rockets and spacecraft. The company was founded in 2002 to revolutionize space technology, with the ultimate goal of enabling people to live on other planets".
Why it’s a good mission statement: Elon Musk, CEO and founder of SpaceX aims high. With this lofty end goal of enabling people to live on other planets, Musk paves the way for truly innovative thinking when it comes to space travel. SpaceX has already had some huge achievements, including launching, returning, and vertically landing a rocket. There were many failures before and after this attempt, but failure is a side effect of innovation, and often the road to success. By having such a clear mission statement, SpaceX is sure to be a global leader in modern space exploration.
- Spotify: "Give people access to all the music they want all the time - in a completely legal & accessible way".
Why it’s a good mission statement: They aim to solve a two-sided problem. First, musicians and producers want to end piracy and be fairly compensated for their work. Second, the listener wants and expects to easily access affordable music in the digital age. By bridging this gap and finding an alternative to downloading, Spotify offers tiered services. Music can be accessed for free, but with occasional ad interruption so artists can still get paid, or with a premium account that affordably priced, without ads. Solving problems in the marketplace is one way that startups become successful multi-national companies. By having a strong mission statement and understanding their end goal, Spotify has been able to attract an enormous user base of 100 million users, with 40 million of those being paying subscribers, and growing!
- Slack: "Where work* happens".
*Whatever work means for you, Slack brings all the pieces and people you need together so you can actually get things done.
Why it’s a good mission statement: Slack is another great example of a tech company solving a problem that others have tried in the past. There are a lot of great communication tools out there, but Slack truly does bring pieces and people together, which in turn, helps teams get things done. If you’ve never used slack before, we highly recommend it. Often working in different cities, we at SME Strategy love using this tool as a way to bring our people together over distances.
- BBC: "To enrich people's lives with programmes and services that inform, educate and entertain".
Why it’s a good mission statement: Many people look to the BBC as a a reliable source of news and education. This shows that they follow their mission to inform, educate, and entertain. While no outlet can be totally free of bias, the BBC stays true to their mission by offering local news, world news, radio programs, and both entertainment and documentary television series
- WestJet: "To enrich the lives of everyone in WestJet's world by providing safe, friendly and affordable air travel".
Why it’s a good mission statement: WestJet’s mission statement outlines three clear objectives that they continually follow through on. Originally a niche airline in Western Canada, WestJet solved a problem for the average person traveling by staying true to their mission. Since then, WestJet has expanded throughout North America and offers safe, friendly and affordable air travel not only domestically, but also to London, and through codeshare agreements, many other countries as well.
- Google: "Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful".
Why it’s a good mission statement: In the past 30 years, internet has gone from something that was used only in national defence, to a tool for governments and large organizations, to something only developed cities had, to something most people can now hold in the palm of their hand. Seven years after the world wide web went live, in 1998, Google entered the scene. Google’s mission statement is clear - information should be accessible to everyone, and so far they are doing a good job of helping this happen.
- Ikea: "To create a better everyday life for the many people".
Why it’s a good mission statement: Ikea furniture (although sometimes hard to put together!) offers unique solutions for a variety of living arrangements. Both affordable and with simple yet elegant design, Ikea creates furniture and accessories for all sorts of unique spaces to make them more comfortable to live in. They really do reach out to the “many people”.
- SME Strategy: "Our mission is to provide managers and leaders the tools, frameworks, and expertise to help them create and execute on their strategic plans successfully".
Why it’s a good mission statement: We stand by our mission statement. Our first priority is to help other organizations succeed. In order to succeed, a strong strategy needs to be in place. By creating tools and resources and facilitating strategic planning sessions, we live our mission statement on a daily basis.
Strong mission statements are just one part of a strong strategic plan. If you're looking for more information about strategic plans, missions, visions and goals, here is a great list of Example Strategic Plans from around the world.
Starting the strategic planning process, or reviewing your existing strategy? Find out how working with a facilitator can help you engage your team, make the most of your session, save valuable resources, and develop an implementable plan: