The Big PR Question: How to bring your mission statement to life

02.06.20

Having a compelling mission is essential for an organisation to be successful. It is what gives purpose, direction and a pathway to achievement. But how do you bring a mission to life so that it energises the maximum number of people. This is the question that we will explore today.

Please explain the question?

We will explore how to ensure that your organisation’s mission is brought to life everyday.

So how do you bring a mission statement to life?

Make it like a prayer

Every organisation in the world has a prayer that sets out what it’s followers believe in. This prayer or mantra is known back to front and inside out by its followers. Your mission statement should be like this. It should use plain and simple language and be easy to remember. It should be quantifiable and relatable to your industry, and people should get it.

Understand the job at hand

Too many organisations lose sight of what’s important when it comes to their mission statement. A mission statement is: “A compelling written statement that gives an organisation a sense of purpose. It helps give strategic direction to an organisation and acts as a rally point or a point of purpose. It drives action.”

When you are consulting on your organisation mission bear that in mind. When I think of a mission statement, I always think of the scene in the movie Dead Poets Society. When the teacher played by Robin Williams  goes to leave his students are so motivated and understanding of his mission they stand in unison on their tables to quote the line “Oh captain my captain” from the Walt Whitman poem of the same name. It shows instant recall by a group imbued by a mission and it’s powerful.

Continually revisit it

The notion that once your mission is done it’s done is nonsense. The world is continually changing and you should change too. I’m not advocating that you change your mission every five minutes but you should continually be reexamining it.

Put it on everyone’s desk

Imagine if the organisation’s mission was in a small frame on everyone’s desk and as part of the induction it is what was presented to new employees. Imagine if on the first day new employees were presented with a personalised version that was signed and dated by them and the CEO. It would be a powerful symbol of where the organisation is going and the role of every employee in it.

Avoid corporate jargon

Too many mission statements are jammed full of corporate jargon. They focus more on stakeholder engagement and vertical alignment than being something that anybody has any interest in. You should be able to read your mission statement to a 10-year old and they should understand it and care about it. It’s as simple as that.

Host regular mission events

Hosting regular events that bring your mission to life is essential. It could be a series of talks with customers, employees or even a charity partnership. Events have a way of posing the question – why are we doing this? And mission is central to that question.

Put your mission at the heart of every action document

Your mission needs to be an action document not a statement in a file on a shelf gathering dust. One way to achieve this is to tie every action document in the organisation back to your mission by insisting that a strong set of objectives connects every project with the organisation’s mission.