Creating A Mission Statement
Making sure that you and Your Employees are on the Same Page
Your Company begins functioning as a tightly organized unit through the creation of a mission statement. As an example of a fully developed, well thought out mission statement, the following is the “Statement of Mission” of Ben & Jerry’s, the innovative, high-end ice cream manufacturer. In parenthesis after certain sections, comments are given on the purpose and effectiveness of the section.
STATEMENT OF MISSION
“BEN and JERRY’S IS DEDICATED TO the creation and demonstration of a new corporate concept of linked prosperity. Our mission consists of three interrelated parts.”
“UNDERLYING THE MISSION is the determination to seek new and creative ways of addressing all three parts, while holding a deep respect for individuals inside and outside the company, and for the communities of which they area part.”
“To make, distribute and sell the finest quality all natural ice cream and related products in a wide variety of innovative flavours made from Vermont dairy products.” (This section is specific and action oriented. It describes exactly what the company does, while mentioning that the “wide variety of innovative flavours” is of “the finest quality.”)
“To operate the Company on a sound financial basis of profitable growth, increasing value for our shareholders, and creating career opportunities and financial rewards for our employees.” (This section states that the company will focus on increasing profitability to enhance value for shareholders i.e., increase stock value, as well as to reward employees with increasing salaries and benefits.)
“To operate the Company in a way that actively recognizes the central role that business plays in the structure of society by initiating innovative ways to improve the quality of life of a broad community – local, national, and international.” (This section commits the company to taking an interest in broader social issues. The phrase “improve the quality of life of a broad community” provides room for a diverse approach to community involvement. Smaller companies that have a more local or regional focus might target their community involvement.)
“Underlying the mission of Ben & Jerry’s is the determination to seek new and creative ways of addressing all three parts, while holding a deep respect for individuals inside and outside the Company and for the communities of which they are a part.”
A good mission statement includes at least three aspects:
- A description of the products or services of the company.
- The means by which goals of the company will be met. Ben and Jerry’s mission statement did not define internal operations, marketing methods, or distribution channels. Such definitions, however, help focus a mission statement.
- A description of company values, emphasizing a commitment to specific internal or community improvement.