Sunday, July 29, 2007

Mission Statement

In A Simple Statement: A Guide to Nonprofit Arts Management and Leadership, Jamie Grady writes what he's learned about mission statements over the years.

What Is a Mission Statement
Grady writes:

  • A mission statement is a single sentence or short paragraph that states
    the company's central philosphy, beliefs, values, and principles.
  • It clarifies the work of the organization.
  • It needs to be the single device with which a company measures its success.

Keys to an Effective Mission Statement
Grady writes:

  • It should be recognizable, unique, exciting, and inspiring.
  • It is a simple expression of why the organization was created and what it will accomplish.
  • Individuals who are not familiar with the organization should be able to quickly and accurately understand its purpose by reading the mission statement.
  • Mission statements should be powerful and compelling in order to bring people together to work toward a common goal. A compelling sense of purpose brings people together to achieve great goals.
  • If an organization wants every action to be based upon its mission statement, it should create a statement that can be easily memorized.
  • A mission statement needs to be brief in order for it to be easily placed in the minds of those who need it most - organizations, employees, patrons, donors, and vendors.
  • As with any important declaration, it is vital to allow time for revision and discussion arbout the statement's appropriateness and effectiveness.

Group Process Over Single Person
Grady writes:

The creation of the mission statement can be completed by one person or a core group. Usually the statement will be more effective, powerful, and embraced if it is formed by a small group of people rather than a single person. If the mission statement is developed through a successful group process, each member of that group will have a personal stake in the success of the mission and that of the organization. The more people working toward a focused purpose, and sharing that focus, the greater chance they will have in accomplishing that purpose.
Key Take Aways
  • The biggest thing for me here is that the mission statement acts as a guage for success.
  • I'm a fan of simple, repeatable mission statements over elaborate or verbose ones.
  • I like the point on getting skin in the game by using a group process for the mission statement.
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