A mission statement is a typically brief statement outlining what your primary goal is and who you hope to benefit or reach with your organization. A mission statement needs to reflect the goals of an organization, but it is equally important that an organization represents its mission statement. The mission should be solid not in that it can’t be changed, but in that all members of the organization adhere to it.
Although many companies consider a mission statement to be a lasting message, an unbreakable oath from the founding of a company to its end, there are moments where it is beneficial to change the mission statement. While it is not always necessary to change your mission statement, it may be a good idea to occasionally reevaluate it and determine if, as your organization has evolved, your goals and objectives have too.
Sometimes, it’s a good idea to sit down with others in your company, including investors and other leaders, and determine if a new mission statement might be right for you. If you have periodic planning sessions, it is a good idea to use this time to collectively review your statement.
Here are seven important signs that it may be time to re-evaluate your company’s mission statement.
1. Your mission statement needs to be clarified or re-worded.
Scott Stuecher, from Veralong Blog, says that if your mission statement is not clear and understandable enough for your employees to cite it, that you probably need a new mission statement. If someone from within the organization does not fully understand it, than people outside of the organization won’t understand it either. And this is, generally, one of the primary priorities of a mission statement. Of course, this doesn’t mean that your vision needs to change or that the mission statement needs to undergo drastic alterations. It simply means that you need to take a look at the overall clarity of it and consider making some changes.
2. Your organization has changed.
If your organization has made some large-scale changes, then your mission statement needs to reflect those changes. While minor changes may not actually impact your business’s goals or mission, larger changes like moving into a new sphere will absolutely need to be registered. Additionally, if you drastically grow or merge with another company, it may be a good idea to make sure that your mission statement still serves you.
3. You have new or expanded goals.
If your goals are no longer reflected in your mission statement, then it is obviously time to change that mission statement; however, you may also want to change your mission statement if your goals have changed even subtly, or if they have simply expanded. If your organization is growing quickly, then your goals have likely grown too.
4. You have a new audience.
Perhaps your audience has expanded, in which case it may be necessary to revise your mission statement, but not necessarily. If your audience has changed though, you will need to determine how you are best going to serve them and write this into your new mission statement.
5. Your organization needs to be refocused.
If your company no longer feels as though it is rallied around your mission statement, it may be time to revise and determine a way to regain internal focus. Often, rather than focusing on the originally decided upon expertise, it can be tempting to expand beyond the limits that were originally set. While some of this can be okay, it may mean revisiting the mission statement or deciding that the company needs to focus on a more specific set of offerings.
6. Your statement focuses on specific products rather than on customer needs.
If, when you originally wrote your mission statement, you focused on products, then it is time to change the mission statement to reflect what customer need you are fulfilling. Products evolve or grow obsolete, but if your mission statement reflects a need you are fulfilling rather than a product you are distributing, then it will have stronger staying power.
7. Your mission statement is not inspirational.
The best mission statements do not simply reiterate what your company is currently offering, but also consider the possibility for transformation. It demonstrates not only about what you do, but what changes you hope to make within your audience’s life.
Mission statements, while important, do not need to be set in stone. Members of the company should sit down every few years and determine if their published statement accurately reflects the company’s goals as they currently stand. Sometimes, the mission statement may only need to be reworded slightly. Sometimes though, the entire goal and vision of the company might change. We at Stewart Cooper & Coon agree that a successful mission statement is one that represents not only the current mindset of the business but where they are headed as well.
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