The Importance of a Mission Statement

WHAT IS A MISSION STATEMENT AND WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?

An effective mission statement describes the firm's fundamental, unique purpose. An important part of this description indicates how a firm is unique in its scope of operations and its product or service offerings. Thus, in simple yet powerful terms, a mission statement proclaims corporate purpose. This proclamation indicates what the organization intends to accomplish, identifies the market(s) in which the firm intends to operate, and reflects the philosophical premises that are to guide actions. Mission statements are also intended to provide motivation, general direction, an image of the company's character, and a tone, or set of attitudes, through which actions are guided. Furthermore, because mission statements embody a company's soul, they are often inspirational.

A mission statement requires that the school would have to sharpen its focus and use its resources wisely to be successful in the future. It is believed a mission statement would be of significant value to those involved with and concerned about the school.

It provides the direction required for the school to be successful.

The school board must support to charge the school's planning committee to develop a mission statement

A key reason for such importance is the mission statement's guidance of strategic and day-to-day, operational decisions. Additionally, mission statements represent the glue that binds organizations together.

The mission statement indicates what the organization intends to accomplish and describes the philosophical premises that guide peoples' actions.

Once completed, mission statements become the foundation on which other intended actions are built. Only after a mission statement has been developed can objectives and appropriate strategies be formed properly in all segments of a company.

Peter Drucker (1973) perhaps best described the general relationship and sequence between a mission statement and objectives. He noted, "A business is not defined by its name, statutes, or articles of incorporation. The business mission defines it. Only a clear definition of the mission and purpose of the organization makes possible clear and realistic business objectives."

A key outcome of mission statements is the determination of a firm's focus when coping with complex environments. Among other attributes, focus means, "setting a clear, realistic mission and then working tirelessly to make sure everyone--from the chairman to the ‘middle manager to the hourly employee-understands it" (Henkoff 1990).

FACTORS INHIBITING THE DEVELOPMENT OF MISSION STATEMENTS

Several factors may account for the failure to develop mission statements. Here, we examine the following:

1) The number and diversity of organizational stakeholders;

2) The amount of work required to develop an effective mission statement;

3) The tendency for some stakeholders to become comfortable with a firm's current position (the status quo is viewed as being acceptable or preferable);

4) The belief that mission statements may reveal too much confidential, competitive information; 5) the controversy that can be created through development of a mission statement;

6) The difficulty that can be encountered when key upper-level personnel spend too much time on operational rather than strategic issues;

7) The requirement to think as a "generalist," not as a "specialist," when developing a mission statement;

8) Some individuals' desire for excessive amounts of organizational autonomy;

9) The historical formality of strategic planning processes.

The Work Required to Develop an Effective Mission Statement

Even writing a mission statement is time consuming. Each word must be selected carefully to ensure its consistency with directions sought by all stakeholders. Furthermore, once completed, the mission statement must address the interests of those the organization intends to serve.

Thus, developing a mission statement requires diligence, tolerance of ambiguous conditions and inputs, and the devotion of considerable amounts of time. If organizations do not have individuals with these attributes, developing an effective mission statement becomes a daunting challenge.