Contents :
  1. Meaning and Definition of Mission.
  2. Characteristics / Features of Mission Statement.
  3. Components of Mission Statement.
  4. Benefits of Mission.
  5. Guidelines for Effective Mission Statement.
  6. Differences Between Vision and Mission.

What is Mission Statement ?

A mission statement refers to the corporate reasons for the existence of an organization. Mission statement does not outline the outcome. It has no time-frame or measurement associated with it. It highlights the current position and the future scenario of an organization in terms of product market, pricing, customer service, etc. Mission has a little touch of philosophy in it, as it talks about the aspects for which an individual is destined to be in this world. It provides the ground on resource allocation as per the objectives.
For example : 
Infosys Mission Statement is, "To achieve our objectives in an environment of fairness, honesty, and courtesy towards clients, employees, vendors and society at large".

Definition of Mission

According to Hunger and Wheelen :
"Mission is the purpose or reason for the organization's existence".

According to Thompson :
"Mission is the essential purpose of the organization, concerning particularly why it is in existence, the nature of the business it is in, and the customers it seeks to serve and satisfy".

According to Drucker :
"Mission focuses the organization on action. It defines the specific strategies needed to attain goal. It creates a disciplined organization. The business purpose and business mission are so rarely given adequate thought, is perhaps the most important single cause of business failure and business frustration".

According to David F. Harvey :
"A mission provides the basis of awareness of a sense of purpose, the competitive environment, degree to which the firm's mission fits its capabilities and the opportunities which the government offers".

The mission statement outlines the activities conducted by the organization and communicates them to the society. The values and beliefs held by the organization play an important role in fulfilling the mission as it is built on the foundation set by the organizational values.

The mission statements provide an internal direction to the organization for its future. It is necessary for the employees to have motivation and enthusiasm to achieve the goals of the organization.

Characteristics of Good Mission Statements

A good mission statement should have the following characteristics :

1) Feasibility : 
A good mission statement should always be a wide-ranging goal, but it should also be achievable. It should not be an impossible statement. The organizational employees should find it feasible and credible. However, feasibility of a mission relies upon the availability of organizational resources. 
For example : it was a mission of U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to land on the moon during 1960's, which was finally accomplished between 1960s and 1970s.

2) Precise : 
An effective mission statement should be neither too narrow nor too wide. A narrow mission statement will not be able to convey the operations performed by the organization and a wide mission statement will fail to define the organizational objectives and goals. 
For example : for a soft drink manufacturing company, writing "manufacturing soft drinks" is too narrow, and writing "satisfying customers" is too broad.

3) Clarity :
A mission statement should clearly state the organizational goals so that it stimulates actions. Sometimes, organizations mislead the public by using superlative terms to emphasize their identities and features. A mission statement is beneficial only when it is stated in clear terms and leads to action. For example, the mission statement of India Today is the complete news magazine".

4) Encouraging : 
A good mission statement should be capable of encouraging its employees and its customers. The employees, customers, and other stakeholders should feel valued by being a part of organization. This will lead to enhanced skills and expertise in the employees and will create a sense of loyalty in the stakeholders. 
For example : Eureka Forbes encourages its employees to provide superior 'customer service' to the customers at their home as per their convenience. This increases customer loyalty towards the company.

5) Uniqueness : 
A mission should be distinct and unique in every sense from that of the competitors. If all the companies which are in same business write their mission statements in the same way, it would hardly create a unique identity and a positive impact on the public.

6) Indication of Strategy : 
A good mission statement should indicate the strategy to be adopted for achieving the long-term goals. 
For example : the mission statement of Ashland is, “We are a market-focused, process-centered organization that develops and delivers innovative solutions
customers, consistently outperforms our peers, produces predictable earnings for our shareholders, and provides a dynamic and challenging environment for our employees. This indicates that the organization focuses on market structure and policy as well as on the organizational processes.

7) Should Specify the Ways to Achieve Objectives :
An efficient mission statement should define the ways in which the organizational objectives can be achieved. This helps the organization to determine the time-period in which it needs to accomplish these goals.

Components of Mission Statement

Mission statements can differ by content, length, format, specifications, etc. It is one of the most noticeable parts of an organization. Usually, a good mission statement has following components :

1) Products or Services :
A mission statement should indicate the products or services the organization deals in. 
For example : the mission statement of Assurant is, "to be the premier provider of targeted specialized insurance products and related services in North America and selected other markets".

2) Target Market : 
An organization should indicate the type of market it serves in a mission statement. 
For example : while the mission of a cosmetic company may serve only for women, a company producing shaving creams and after shave lotions would serve only for men.

3) Technology : 
A mission statement should describe about the technology being implemented for achieving the organizational goals. This helps the organization in acquiring better technology vendors.

4) Philosophy :
An efficient mission statement should outline the values held by the organization. The values may include bringing inspiration and innovation, adopting customer centric approach, creating lasting solutions to poverty as well as hunger, and raising voice against social injustice, etc.

5) Policy for Employees : 
A mission statement should indicate its policies regarding its employees so that they realize their importance in the organization.

6) Self-Concept : 
A mission statement should always define the competitive advantage of the organization. 
For example : the mission statement of Toyota is "Toyota will lead the way to the future of mobility, enriching lives around the world with the safest and most responsible ways of moving people. Through commitment to quality, constant innovation and respect for the planet, we aim to exceed expectations and be rewarded with a smile. We will meet challenging goals by engaging the talent and passion of people, who believe there is always a better way".

7) Concern for Survival, Growth, and Profitability :
For a commercial organization it is essential to mention its financial objectives in the mission statement. This will allow the stakeholders to know the financial motives and strategies
For example : the mission statement of McGraw-Hill is, "to serve the worldwide need for knowledge at a fair profit by adhering, evaluating, producing, and distributing valuable information in a way that benefits our customers, employees, other investors, and our society".

8) Public Images : 
By formulating a mission statement, strategic leaders are able to convey the basic features and functions of the organization which helps in creating a positive public image. It helps the managers to guide the employees as per the approved public image.

Benefits of Mission

Mission statements have following benefits :

1) Motivates Employees : 
Mission statements motivate employees of the organization to enhance their skills not only for personal gains but also for achieving the common organizational goals. This statement helps to create environment of shared values among employees and guide them in their regular activities. Many companies involve their workforce in formulation of mission statement so that it can be shared effectively among their employees along with generating the sense of ownership. Mission statements encourage the employees to take active participation in the organizational operations.

2) Improves Organization's Performance :
Mission statement helps the organization to improve its financial position by balancing and enhancing the overall organizational performance. If the organization's mission statement is achievable and feasible as well as relevant to the organizational philosophy, it motivates the employees to stretch their abilities to outperform themselves.

3) Sets Core Values : 
A mission statement sets core values within the organization. It identifies the direction in which the organization wishes to proceed and also determines the ways in which the objectives are to be achieved. By complying with the set standards and progressing in predefined direction, the organization secures its success.
If at times, the organization loses its track and engages in some unethical activities, the mission statement helps in bringing it back on the track. It also helps the strategic leaders in decision-making for different business activities.

4) Promotes the Functions and Features of Organization : 
By formulating an efficient mission statement, the organization can promote the features and functions of the organization to the general public. A good mission statement is also helpful in promoting the values and beliefs held by the organization. This promotion helps the organization in creating interests among the stakeholders. Hence, it acts a tool of
For example : by creating an effective mission statement a bank can attract various investors towards its services.

5) Describes Organizational Goals :
A mission statement defines the goals that are to be achieved by the organization. It portrays a clear picture about the business it deals in and the fundamental idea about the organization. Whatever its form, a mission statement should give readers a clear idea of what a business does and its overall philosophy in a minimal amount of time.

Guidelines for Effective Mission Statements

Mission statement is the soul of the company as it paves the path to reach the vision. An effective mission statement can motivate the workforce to raise the business up to next level. In order to formulate effective mission statement given guidelines should be followed :

1) Involve Employees : 
While formulating mission statement, the strategic leaders should involve the employees for innovative business ideas. This in turn creates a sense of responsibility in the employees.

2) Careful Selection of Components : 
The strategic leaders should try to cover most of the criteria that are essential to make a mission statement effective. All the components written in the mission should be selected carefully and should define the features of the organization clearly. A mission statement should be able to attract employees and customers.

3) Proper Length of Mission Statement : 
An effective mission statement should not be too be short that it lacks specificity or too long that it becomes lengthy and vague. It should be of accurate length so that it can provide wide-ranging objectives to the organization. It should be capable enough to indicate either short-term or long-term goals of the organization. Talking about both would create confusions and would not leave a lasting impression in the minds of the stakeholders.

4) Periodical Updating : 
The strategic leaders should update the mission statement after every six months to ensure that it is adaptive to the changes in the external environment and the need of the organization. When the organizational goals are changed or modified, the mission statement should also be altered. The strategic leaders or decision makers can rephrase some part or entire mission statement as per the situation.