How to Craft a Mission & Strategy Statement:

After I came back from Stanford GSB, my wife asked me to help her develop a mission statement for a new company that she is launching. As I was helping her, I thought it might be beneficial for others who are creating their own non-profits, start-ups, or rebranding their church campaigns.

In this post, I will breakdown the components of an effective mission statement and why you also need a clear strategy statement as well.


What is Mission?

Mission is the emotional and psychological logic that drives an organization and motivates its people to participate.

Mission defines your organization’s reason for being. It’s why you exist.

What are the key components of a mission? You need to articulate:

Who we help or serve? (object)
How we help or serve them? (action)
What results or expected results? (result)

Good mission statements are:

simple
concise
memorable
specific
actionable
motivational

Here’s are some examples of simple and effective mission statements:

Building healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke. (American Heart Association)
We’re a non-profit organization bringing clean, safe drinking water to people in developing countries. (Charity:Water)
We grant the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength, and joy. (Make-A-Wish)

Here’s an example to get you started:

Try to be specific about the “who” and the “action.” Also make sure the “result” is compelling and desirable.

For example, if you’re a church in Los Angeles, it could look something like this:

We exist to transform the lives (result) of the urban poor in Los Angeles (who) by providing messages of hope, communities of faith, and acts of love (action).

It’s not the greatest statement, but it’s a start. I did this one in about 2 minutes because I followed the formula.


What is Strategy?

Strategy is the starting point for developing every plan in your organization. Strategy should spell out the mission to your leaders, staff, employees, volunteers. Strategy answers more specific questions such as:

  • What kinds of services/products/ministries do we provide?
  • What are the long-term goals?
  • How are we unlike others? How are we unique?
  • Why will our organization succeed?

Now let’s take a stab at creating a strategy statement. First, keep these questions in mind:

  • Where do you think your organization wants to be in 5 years?
  • What’s is their unique advantage? How are they unlike others?

Let’s go back to that Los Angeles church:

Los Angeles Church Name’s strategy is to be the fastest spreading movement in southeast LA by creating multiplying, high care, practical assimilation, positivity centers to the urban poor.

This sentence took me about 3 minutes. I made sure there were key components such as unique advantages like “positivity” “high care” and “practical assimilation” for the urban poor. I specified one key area of Los Angeles to focus on, southeast LA, known to have the biggest population of urban poor. Lastly, “fastest spreading” conveys vision for the future, in other words, a championship to strive for.


Conclusion

Refining your mission statement is the best way to change the momentum of your stagnant or dying organization. A flat-lining organization indicates that your people have stopped believing in the mission. The mission is no longer compelling. If it’s not the mission statement, it could be that people don’t buy into the strategy. They don’t see how they are going to execute the mission. This is where crafting a strategy statement for your people will be crucial.

I hope this article gets you and your leadership started into a new season of hope and excitement. Thanks for reading!

Suggested Reading

  • Saloner, et al. 2001. Strategic Management.
  • Porter, Michael. 1980, 1998. Competitive Strategy.
  • Porter, Michael. 1996. “What is Strategy?” Harvard Business Review.

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