10 Essential Questions to Evaluate Your Mission Statement

What is a Mission?

In a general sense, any serious activity on earth has a mission. On a personal level, your mission is the combination of goals, traits and qualities you would like to achieve in life. In a business context, an organization’s mission is the purpose or reason for the organization’s existence. It tells what the organization is providing to society (products, services or both).

So, What is a Mission Statement?

In a simple business frame, this is called a Mission Statement. A standard well written mission statement defines a unique and fundamental purpose that sets the organization apart from its rivals as well as defining the scope of its operations to deliver the contribution promised to society. A longer form of that standard format may also include the organization’s values and philosophy about how it does business and treats its employees.

Another part of that statement is the organization’s vision as to where it aspires to become in the future. Some organizations like to separate that part into its own Vision Statement, and others go even further by creating a Values Statement which talks about the values and philosophy of a specific organization in doing their business. For the sake of simplicity, I always preferred to look at it as one Mission Statement document that describes the organization’s mission, its vision into the future and the values and philosophies it will adopt.

Evaluate Your Mission Statement with This Test

Andrew Campbell, a renowned strategist has designed the following 10-question test to quickly evaluate your organization’s mission statement with the following scoring method:

Score questions

0 for No
1 for Somewhat
2 for Yes

Interpreting Scores

Once you finish scoring all questions, check the score. According to Campbell, a score of over 15 is exceptional, and a score of less than 10 suggests that more work needs to be done to that specific mission statement. Here are the 10 questions:

  1. Andrew Campbell

    Does the statement describe an inspiring purpose that avoids playing to the selfish interests of the stakeholders?

  2. Does the statement describe the organization’s responsibility to its stakeholders?
  3. Does the statement define a business domain and explain why it is attractive?
  4. Does the statement describe the strategic positioning that the company prefers in a way that helps to identify the sort of competitive advantage it will look for?
  5. Does the statement identify values that link with the organization’s purpose and act as beliefs with which employees can feel proud?
  6. Does the values resonate with and reinforce the organization’s strategy?
  7. Does the statement describe important behavior standards that serve as beacons of the strategy and the values?
  8. Are the behavior standards described in a way that enables individual employees to judge whether they are behaving correctly?
  9. Does the statement give a portrait of the company, capturing the culture of the organization?
  10. Is the statement easy to read?

My bonus question

As with any survey or questionnaire I designed at work, there’s always an open ended question at the end that allows the taker to add what they would like. In this context, my added questions would be:

11- What would you think is missing, or would like to see added to this statement?

This is a catch all question that works as a window for employees’ voice. There may be some inputs in this answer that does not make sense, but -believe me- it is important to let them freely express what they have in mind, even if it is not relevant to the purpose of the survey, you can still gather some excellent information for other management activities with adding this question to any questionnaire/survey.

In Conclusion,

Using the test questions above via a survey distributed to all employees responsible for shaping the organization’s strategy will enable management to quickly spot the areas where more work needs to be done. It also serves another very important purpose which is spreading the sense of ownership among employees as they contribute to the evaluation and fine-tuning of their own mission statement.

 

About the Author Ehab

A firm believer in Quality and Excellence in all aspects of life. In my life, there is always a higher level to get to.

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