3 of-mission

Mission is the overarching reason an organization exists. It is a declaration of intent in which People, Process, and Purpose are outlined in a manner that is intended to inspire confidence and enthusiasm by offering a powerful glimpse of intended future direction. Its primary purpose is to explain why an organization exists, offer a clear understanding of the intended results, and present a brief description of the elements used to achieve those results.

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CX Research


Organizational Architecture

The Mission statement serves as a guidepost for describing in brief but exacting detail the purpose for an organization’s existence. Used in conjunction with an organization’s Values, and Vision statements, the Mission statement declares who you are as an organization, why you exist, what you do, and whom you serve.

The Mission statement will focus on briefly defining the business problem being addressed and what the unique value proposition is that you bring to the market.

The Mission statement is aspirational in that it can never be fully achieved, yet is always driving towards a perfect state. In an effort to successfully achieve that future state, the Mission may briefly declare the business approaches that it intends to use in realizing its efforts. It may pose them as tools deployed with the intended impacts on a business condition. The Mission may declare the approach but does not outline the strategy.

The central components of a Mission statement focus on:

  • Organizational purpose – Declaratory statements on who you are as an organization and why you exist. It reflects the basic beliefs, values, and philosophies that the organization espouses and practices (as reflected in an Organizational Values statement), as well as the intended sustainability (growth and profitability) path of the organization over time.
  • Organizational practices – In an effort to activate the Mission, this statement will include key organizing principles that affect personal and collective behaviors, pivotal roles, tolls and technologies, and procedural tasks. It demonstrates both core and aspirational attitudes towards employees and will in turn, intentionally and collectively reflect and project not only the results and outcomes but also the organizational brand that faces the market.
  • The intended market – The statement will outline the markets in which the organization will compete, who the intended customers are, and identify how those products and services make a difference in the lives of those consumers. Additional self-assessment will offer a clear picture of core organizational competencies and the distinctive competitive advantage that is resultant.

The Mission is not intended to be simply an outward, market-facing statement charged with the intent of projecting the organization’s core values and drivers to an interested public. It is also an internal tool that acts as a lever on the fulcrum of Values, for the purpose of elevating the Vision and ultimately enabling effective growth.

Common Pitfalls

Missional statements have the ability to attract powerful aspirations that lack in realistic, actionable outcomes - this as a result of inadequate internal competency and external market assessments.

Unrealistic expectations are easily built on assumptions of market interest, organizational abilities, technological advantage, and clarity of intent and direction. Erroneous assumptions lead to an impotent statement that lack in credibility, meaning, and effect.

The resulting conditions may be seen in:

  • Ineffective beauty - A statement that carries linguistic beauty but cannot be tied to specific actions or carries little evidence of connectivity between the day-to-day activity within the organization and the intent of its words.
  • Lack of distinction – The statement is a bold proclamation of why you exist as an organization and what difference that makes in the marketplace. When comparing between your Mission statement and your competitors’ statement, line them up side-by-side and see if your staff can identify which one is theirs. This lack of distinction is later reflected in market penetration capability in which the single competitive distinction is price. While an important element, price on its own offers diminishing power in the sustainable organization.
  • Disconnected strategies – An ineffective Mission will be reflected in an organizational architecture that negatively impacts the organizational strategy, organizational experience and ultimately the organizational design. How resources (the people you hire, the processes you use, and places that you establish) are tactically applied will create the organizational experience (what we do around here). Those functions drive how the organization is designed to accomplish those results (the identification of pivotal tasks and the hiring of pivotal roles). When the Missional statement becomes an omni-directional suggestion, ensuing conflicting strategies quickly redirect energy from aligned and integrated processes towards reactive, counterproductive activities.