Finding a Common Purpose
This article on Creating a Team Mission Statement is about the importance of a mission statement in producing an effective and efficient organization.
Creating a team mission statement is an essential job of leadership. As the leader of an organization you must ensure that the organization has a mission.
A team mission reminds all of purpose of existence of the organization.
A mission statement must carry the heartbeat of the organization; it cannot be something plucked out from the air just to make the organization look good or something that you ask consultants to give to you.
A compelling mission statement gives the organization effectiveness.
Instead of running around in circles, a mission statement helps an organization clarify its direction as well as values. A company with a strong mission statement with its employees living out its heart will be extremely productive and successful.
One example would be Ben & Jerry’s. Their socially conscious bosses have created company policies like donating 7% of all profits back to society.
This strong mission statement backed by solid action has drawn Ben & Jerry’s a load of equally passionate employees in its ranks.
But how many times have you known employees or team members of an organization who know the mission statement as the ‘writing on the wall’.
These people know that the company has a mission statement, it’s just that there don’t know what it stands for and how it translates to their daily work behaviour.
Some of them can even recite it to you, but when you observe the way they behave, you can tell they don’t really care about what the mission statement really means.
How then, can you be creating a team mission statement that will compel your whole team to follow with passion?
How To Create A Team Mission Statement
1. A team mission statement should be created together.
A team mission statement should be created together with everyone on the team. While it is often easier if you come up with the mission statement yourself, it is a better choice if you would sit down with your group to talk it through.
When your team comes up with the mission statement together with you, they will take greater ownership in ensuring that the organization does fulfil its mission. Because they were the one who came up with the mission, they also unconsciously commit themselves to the cause.
If you had done it on your own, your team may not be as passionate and motivated to see the same cause come to pass. People take ownership for what they create.
Also, sitting down together helps clarify certain hidden misconceptions. By talking things through, you can often find that certain people were on a ‘different’ page. They might have a different idea about the direction of the organization, or a different belief about how things should work.
Sitting down together to trash everything out will ensure that everything is brought out into the open and taken care of before the organization moves forward.
2. After creating a team mission statement, it should be spoken of regularly.
Most of us can get distracted very easily. After a few years running after corporate success, it is very easy for everyone to lose focus on the whole reason for the organization.
Pretty soon, instead of focusing on furthering the organizational mission, people start focusing on the bottom line instead. Studies have shown that companies who lose their initial focus will tend to fail in the long run. Rightly so.
The bottom line is a mere indicator of the success of the organization in further the team mission.
Therefore, it is good to constantly share the vision and mission of the company together and talk about how the organization is progressing with regards to fulfilling its purpose. Talk candidly about the behaviours in the company that are aligned with it, and about those that are in conflict.
No matter how focused we are, all of us need reminders at many points in our lives about our purpose. It is the same with your whole organization. One of the best things you can do as a leader is to constantly communicate the mission statement to your team.
3. Your team mission statement must be in line with your personal mission in life.
As the leader of an organization, you must have a similar mission in life with your corporation. Above all else, you are after all the head of the organization and more than anyone else, you must embrace the corporate mission as your own.
This is not possible if the company’s mission is not similar to yours. For example, if you were the founder of Ben & Jerry’s, would you take into account the environmental issues involved and make it an integral part of the company?
I know I wouldn’t. It isn’t because I don’t care about the environment; it’s just that I don’t believe in it with a passion. And if I did put it there, pretty soon some of my actions might come into conflict with the company’s mission, which reflects badly on me as a leader.
So really, if you ask what your team mission statement should be, ask yourself first, what is your life’s mission? If you don’t know what your personal mission is in life; your purpose in life, how would you find one for your group?
Do take some time to think it through, ultimately the process of creating a team mission statement must beat with your heart. You must believe it with every fiber of your body.
Related reading: Examples of Good Team Mission Statements