Mary Legakis Engel, in the 2018 Winter edition of Leader to Leader magazine, has written a compelling article titled, “Crafting the Ideal Mission Statement for Your Organization”. Engel refers to “outwardly focused” mission statements that “create a sense of contribution – that something good is being done for the world”. These contrast with internally focused mission statements that answer the following questions:

  • Who is your customer?
  • What does your customer need?
  • What products and services do you provide to fulfill the customer’s need(s)?
  • Through what channels of distribution?
  • In what geographic area?

Engel labels the inwardly focused mission statement as a company’s “business definition” that should be included in the ideal mission statement.But the core of the ideal mission statement is an outwardly focused statement that “fits on a T-shirt”. While the internally focused mission statement provides “clarity about the focus of your work, the outwardly focused statement describes what your company does “for their target subjects”.  The outwardly focused statement describes “why you do what you do…a reason for being”.

Some examples of outwardly focused mission statements are (courtesy: Allessio Bresciani, digital strategist and channel manager):

  • – “To be Earth’s most customer-centric company, where customers can find and discover anything they might want to buy online, and endeavors to offer its customers the lowest possible prices.”
  • Twitter – “To give everyone the power to create and share ideas and information instantly, without barriers.”
  • Kickstarter – “To help bring creative projects to life.”
  • Uber – “Uber is evolving the way the world moves. By seamlessly connecting riders to drivers through our apps, we make cities more accessible, opening up more possibilities for riders and more business for drivers.”
  • BBC – “To enrich people’s lives with programmes and services that inform, educate and entertain.”
  • Sony -“To be a company that inspires and fulfills your curiosity.”
  • Microsoft –  “To enable people and businesses throughout the world to realize their full potential.”
  • Google – “To organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”
  • Intel – “Utilize the power of Moore’s Law to bring smart, connected devices to every person on earth.”
  • Cisco – “Shape the future of the Internet by creating unprecedented value and opportunity for our customers, employees, investors, and ecosystem partners.”
  • Intuit – “To improve its customers’ financial lives so profoundly, they couldn’t imagine going back to the old way.”
  • Philips –  “Improving people’s lives through meaningful innovation.”
  • Starbucks – “Establish Starbucks as the premier purveyor of the finest coffee in the world while maintaining our uncompromising principles while we grow.”
  • Coca-Cola – “To refresh the world…To inspire moments of optimism and happiness…To create value and make a difference.”
  • Whole Foods – “Our deepest purpose as an organization is helping support the health, well-being, and healing of both people — customers, Team Members, and business organizations in general — and the planet.”
  • WalMart – “We save people money so they can live better.”
  • P&G – “We will provide branded products and services of superior quality and value that improve the lives of the world’s consumers.”
  • Genentech – “To develop drugs to address significant unmet medical needs.”
  • CAT – “To enable economic growth through infrastructure and energy development, and to provide solutions that support communities and protect the planet.”
  • 3M – “To Improve Every Life through Innovative Giving in Education, Community and the Environment.”
  • Gilead – “To discover, develop and commercialize therapeutics that advance patient care, while challenging employees to make a difference and building a thriving worldwide enterprise.”
  • Southwest – “Dedication to the highest quality of Customer Service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and Company Spirit.”
  • Hyatt – “To provide authentic hospitality by making a difference in the lives of the people we touch every day”
  • Virgin America – “Virgin America is a California-based airline that is on a mission to make flying good again, with brand new planes, attractive fares, top-notch service, and a host of fun, innovative amenities that are reinventing domestic air travel.”
  • Trip Advisor – “To help people around the world plan and have the perfect trip.”
  • Nike – “Bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world.If you have a body, you are an athlete.”
  • Bain & Company – “To help our clients create such high levels of economic value that together we set new standards of excellence in our respective industries.”
  • Toyota – “To attract and attain customers with high-valued products and services and the most satisfying ownership experience in America.”
  • Disney – “We create happiness by providing the finest in entertainment for people of all ages, everywhere.”
  • IKEA – “Create a better everyday life for the many people.”

How many of the above outwardly focused mission statements appeal to you? Can you use any of these to breathe inspiration into your organization’s mission statements? It will be well worth the effort!