The Dos and Don'ts of Company Mission Statements

by Chris Rhatigan on Jun 14, 2016 11:00:00 AM

The Do's and Don'ts of Company Mission Statements to Keep In Mind by TINYpulseQuestion: Which company does this mission statement belong to? Respect, Integrity, Communication and Excellence . . . We treat others as we would like to be treated ourselves. We do not tolerate abusive or disrespectful treatment. Ruthlessness, callousness and arrogance don't belong here. 

Answer: Enron.

Anyone can say that they’re an ethical, visionary, progressive, blah blah blah company. The problem here, of course, was that Enron was the exact opposite: a predatory corporation feasting on the misfortune of everyone they did business with.

But the problems with mission statements go beyond the typical discord between words and actions. Let’s face it: most mission statements are awful. They’re so bad that there’s a website that randomly generates mission statements. The nonsense the site creates could easily be plugged into any company.

How did we get to this point? Here are some of the most common problems — and how to solve them.


Dont Use Jargon and Corporate Lingo

The Do's and Don'ts of Company Mission Statements to Keep In MindSOURCE:

In everyday conversation, do you ever use words like “synergy” or “monetize” or “paradigm”? If you don’t, why would you use them in your mission statement? Don’t obscure your company’s purpose by using language that will have people running for the dictionary. Make it easy because our research found that only 24% of employees know their companys vision, mission, and values.


Do Use Plain and Concrete Language

This is the time to succinctly express what your company is all about. Look at it as an opportunity to tell people what you do and why you do it.

Here’s Disney’s exceptionally clear mission statement: “We create happiness by providing the finest in entertainment — for people of all ages, everywhere.”

That gets straight to the point, illuminates exactly what the company does, and neatly illustrates the companys values. 


Dont Bore People to Death


Who would ever buy something from a company that claims its mission is “to globally leverage others economically sound infrastructures in order to endeavor to professionally operationalize e-tailers deliverables for the highest standards”?

Bet you didn’t even read that whole thing. (It’s from the random mission statement generator.) By having a mission statement like this, you drive away readers.


Do Be Brief

Remember that these readers are potential customers. These people are busy and bombarded by sales pitches. They don’t need to know all the details and technicalities of what you do. They want a sense of who you are and what you offer.


Dont Generalize

If your mission statement could be for any company in the world, then why do you even have one? One of the biggest issues with poorly written mission statements is that they all sound the same.


Do Distinguish Yourself From the Competition

Your mission statement should be specific to your values and history. It should tell people exactly how you set yourself apart from everyone else in the market. In short, it should be the best advertisement for your company. 

Crafting a clear, concise, unique mission statement is the easy part. The difficult part is living up to your mission statement, ensuring that your company’s actions match its words.



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This post was written by Chris Rhatigan

Chris Rhatigan is a freelance writer and editor. He is a former newspaper reporter for The New Haven Register and The Iowa City Press-Citizen. He enjoys playing old video games, studying (and trying to speak) Hindi, and walking his dog on the local trails. He lives in India.