Do You Know: What Does Your Mission Statement Tell About Your Team?

The Mission Statement is one of the foundation documents we work with organizations and teams to develop. This document establishes the direction in which the group wants to move and the process it intends to use to get there.

We believe every organization and team need to have a mission statement. The mission of a team should be in line with the mission and goals of the organization and explain their role in accomplishing the overall goals.

This week, we would like you to think about your mission statement and how effective it is. We will use some questions to take us through the process. They apply to the missions of both teams and entire organizations.

Do you have a mission statement? If not, you need one. Select a group comprised of team members or people representing all levels of the organization and begin the process. Developing the mission is a great opportunity for employee involvement. The outcome does not have to be flowery and should not be long. The style is not important, the content is.

Does everyone know the mission statement? They do not have to be able to repeat it verbatim, but they should be familiar with the content. If people do not understand the mission of the group it is time to better communicate with the membership.

How long ago was your mission statement written? If it is more than a couple of years old it is time to reexamine it. Conditions and people change. Products and philosophies evolve. As they change, so may the mission. Periodically, the team should review its statement to be certain it remains accurate and relevant.

Who wrote your mission statement? The mission of one organization with which I worked was written by the CEO and his secretary. It sounded good, but limiting the people involved in the development runs the risk of ending up with a statement that is not accurate or one other employees and members do not support. The result is even worse than not having a mission statement.

How do you communicate your mission statement to others? Posting it on the wall is not enough. Be sure everyone is familiar with it and what it means for them. This will involve training and constant communications.

What does your mission statement tell others about your team? It should state what your team does, the methods it uses to accomplish the tasks, and how it adds value to the organization.

Does the mission statement of your team clearly tell what the team does and why it is important? The mission statement is the opportunity to sell your team to others inside and outside the organization. If it does not reflect these factors, it is of little use and needs to be revised. For example, if your statement says you believe in working collaboratively to resolve problems, this should be the practice you follow.

Does the mission statement reflect the values of the organization? If not, it is only a collection of words with little real meaning. If the statement does not tell the real values of the organization, it fails in its purpose. Rather than tell what the group wants to accomplish, it results only in confusion and skepticism.

Does the mission statement align with the values of team members? If individuals do not agree with the values of the group they are not likely to be happy or productive. The team will suffer as members are not providing the effort needed to accomplish the goals.

Do team members agree with the approach the team or organization is taking to accomplish its goals? If the approach of the team is not compatible with the members, the team will struggle. It may be time to go back to the group and be certain there is consensus about the statement and what it means to everyone.

Want some help in writing or revising your mission statement? CALMC has worked with many organizations, unions, and teams in this process. Contact us and we can talk about your next steps.

About CALMC Blog

Columbus Area Labor-Management Committee is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to involving employers and employees to preserve jobs, resolve workplace issues, and promote labor-management cooperation. Visit our website at
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