The Mission Behind Your Mission

As we’re working with clients, our main focus is on making sure their marketing messages are engaging and reflective of their values. Part of this conversation almost always includes their mission statement. It’s generally something they came up with years earlier. Most of these mission statements create more yawns than inspiration. Many are generic, stale, and forgettable.

You can find these mission statements up on a wall somewhere prominent in their building where customers can see it, and staff can walk past it every day. Physically, within the space, these words may be striking and bold. But, when we pull staff into a conference room and ask them about it, even if they can remember it or repeat their mission statement, many don’t FEEL it.

Here’s why this matters…

Think about this for a moment. It’s a “mission” statement. These are the words that reflect your mission. Your purpose and your goal. Your calling and your charge. The pursuit you are all aligned around. The quest you are on together as a team.

It should be what gets you out of bed in the morning, gets you inspired to take on your day, and motivates your work. If a mission statement is created well, you should be able to look at when you walk in the door and say, “I’m going to chase that today.” Then, at the end of the day as you’re leaving, you should be able to reflect and say, “Yeah, I did that.” Your mission statement is a compass and a measuring stick.

But here’s the problem. If your mission statement never moves past inspiring words on the wall, you may as well replace it with a painting or piece of art. Until your mission statement creates action, it’s worthless.

Consider a Navy Seal. They have an entire ethos that they follow, their version of a mission statement. It talks about things like loyalty, honor, heritage, and serving. It sets out the expectations of a Seal, and the demands they’ve taken on as guardians and warriors. As their mission statement, the Seal ethos defines how they will work and how they will live.

But that’s only the beginning. A mission statement without a mission is meaningless.

The real test of a Seal occurs when they take on their mission. The moment when they receive their assignment is when all the words in their mission statement become real. It’s when they’re working together as a team, working side-by-side to accomplish their goal. The mission becomes the moment when they can look back on the mission statement and say, “This is what we’re going to do, how we’re going to do it, and why it matters.”

In too many instances, our businesses have mission statements, but not missions. We’re not connecting the dots between the words on the wall and how those words will impact our work, how we treat our customers, and as important, each other. Yes, we have a statement, but it’s not impacting HOW we do what we do, and it’s not reflecting WHY we do it.


Our challenge for you today is to rethink your mission statement. Is it inspiring? Is it memorable? Is it reflective of who you want to be as an organization? Does it make you want to take action today, and if it does, could you look at it when the day is done and say, “Yes. I did that today.”

It’s time to give the words on the wall the power they deserve.