On September 12, 1963, President John F. Kennedy captured our nation’s imagination with his memorable and motivating “moon mission” speech…

“We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, and because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.”

This so resonated with the American public, that by July 20, 1969… just six years later, Kennedy’s moon landing mission had been accomplished.

In business, it’s no different…

A sound mission statement can be a powerful employee engagement and motivation tool, especially among millennials and members of Generation Z. It can help create a sense of identity for them. It can also help attract the right type of vendors and investors. The mission statement is an expression of the leader’s desire and intent for the business.

One of the most important benefits of sharing a sound mission statement with younger employees is that it gives them direction and guidance on what is important and what is not. Giving these employees a sense of purpose and allows them to focus on helping the company realize its objectives and strategies. Well-crafted mission statements can also be an integral part of a company’s branding strategy. This is especially important if millennials and Gen Z’ers are your target market.

It is important not to confuse a vision statement with a mission statement. Vision statements generally relate more to strategic planning and reflect a company’s future aims. Mission statements, however, are a way to direct a business into the right course of action to achieve its goals.

Here is the really important part… an unrealistic or unattainable mission statement can result in a precipitous drop in employee morale. To ensure that the mission statement provides clarity to employees and other stakeholders it must be clear of ambiguities. Unrealistic mission statements can also misguide decisions and cause harm to the business… resources may be directed to unproductive activities and lead the company to uncertain positive results.

Research says that only about 10% of mission statements say something meaningful. In some cases, mission statements may be unrealistic or far too optimistic. To avoid falling into the 90% of unrealistic mission statements, it must be clear and succinct. Great mission statements go a step farther in that they are short and memorable, communicating in just a few words the company’s focus.

Here are a few examples of top-notch mission statements:

Nike: Inspire every athlete in the world

Ethan Allen Furniture: We create beautiful spaces

Tesla: To accelerate the advent of sustainable transport by bringing compelling mass-market electric cars to market as soon as possible.

Google: We organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.

Apple: To bring the best user experience to its customers through its innovative hardware, software, and services.

It takes deep thought and reflection to articulate why your company exists. If you have the benefit of a senior leadership team, bring them into the thought process. Once crafted, you must be sure that it is communicated fully and regularly to your employees and external stakeholders. The mission statement, ultimately, is a compass that should lead decision-makers to select options that best reflect the statement’s intent. Ultimately, mission statements are not about money, but about meeting the customer’s needs.

A clear mission statement should be part of an overall business plan. But a creating a great mission statement doesn’t have to take weeks or months of meetings or sleepless nights. With our proven One Page Business Plan templates, you can create one in days, or even hours. To learn more about One Page Plans click the button below.