In order to be effective, an organization’s mission statement must clearly (and concisely) define why a business exists, what it does, and (sometimes) who it serves in a way that can be easily remembered and communicated by all involved in its accomplishment. Nike has established the phrase, "To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world" as its mission statement – implying what it does by who it serves. "Our mission: to inspire and nurture the human spirit one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time" is the stated purpose of Starbucks Company, never mentioning coffee but referring to the inspirational experience it hopes to provide. Coca Cola’s mission, “To refresh the world - in mind, body and spirit; To inspire moments of optimism - through our brands and actions; To create value and make a difference everywhere we engage” states what the company does without ever saying what it produces. Kohl’s mission, “To be the leading family-focused, value-oriented, specialty department store offering quality exclusive and national brand merchandise to the customer in an environment that is convenient, friendly and exciting” says what it is without limiting itself to any one particular product or brand. The Employers’ Association’s mission is “To provide practical Human Resource solutions to West Michigan business promoting operational excellence and sustainability,” defining what we provide, to whom it is provided and what our service is intended to accomplish. While no two mission statements are the same, each successful enterprise must be able to state why it exists by communicating what product, service or value is being provided in a way that people understand – and can hopefully easily remember when a need materializes.
Individuals often accept that business needs a mission – a purpose and reason to exist – but fail to transfer that essential reality to their own lives. In order to establish value in ourselves, everyone needs to establish a PERSONAL mission statement to guide individual actions, efforts and activities. A personal mission statement is a bit different from a company mission statement, but the fundamental principles are the same – it provides clarity and a sense of purpose. It defines who you are and how you will live. When we drift without purpose towards an unidentified objective, we will take a long time to accomplish nothing. While we cannot miss a target unless it has been clearly identified and posted – cannot fail unless we establish goals and objectives – life without purpose becomes meaningless. A sailboat needs a sail (to capture the wind) and a rudder (to set a course) if it is to move forward. It needs a keel to stabilize its journey and an anchor to hold it in place during times of rest. Though there are many parts and pieces that work together to make a sailboat move ahead, unless a destination has been identified and deliberate action is taken to move towards it, the best wind, the most favorable seas and the mildest conditions will be wasted unless a “reason to sail” has been established. Unless we (personally) know what we wish to accomplish through the actions we take and the decisions we make, we will never learn what we need to know (do or understand) in order to add value (to ourselves, our friends or our society) as we seek to make a difference in this life. We must dedicate our actions, our efforts and our thoughts towards the accomplishment of SOMETHING if we hope to accomplish ANYTHING.