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Writing a Mission Statement

One way to start: Make a list of ideas, phrases, and descriptive terms, written willy-nilly on a piece of paper. These can form the building blocks of a successful mission statement. Don't worry about how well any of these ideas work. Just get down as many as possible.

An ideal mission statement falls somewhere between a formal declaration of goals and an airy statement of ideals. If you do manage to accomplish your mission, that might signal that it's time to refocus and prepare for expansion or change. Even the starship Enterprise only budgeted five years to seek out new life and new civilizations.

Here are some questions to address:

  • Who do we seek to benefit?
  • How do we intend to do that?
  • What principles guide us?
  • How do we want others to describe us?
  • What misconceptions do we need to address?

A mission statement should be short and sweet - about 40-70 words. Avoid jargon or buzz words. Provide good guidance for your visitors and make your organization's purpose clear. For additional ideas, consider the book "The Mission Statement Book: 301 Corporate Mission Statements from America's Top Companies" (ISBN 1580081320).

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