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What “Mission” Really Means (When You Have A Purpose)

Posted on Categories Internal Communications, PurposeTags

When you commit to leading with purpose, your traditional “mission, vision and values” statements must shift.

They become supporting players for your purpose, further defining how your organization intends to make its purpose real in the world. In these updated (what we call) Foundational Statements, your mission states how you differentiate in the way you deliver on your purpose. It speaks to how your organization approaches its work and what sets it apart.

A purpose is not own-able, so there may be numerous organizations that espouse the same purpose. Think for instance of all the organizations that seek to eradicate cancer. While they may all hold the same purpose at heart, the way they deliver on that aspiration is different. Some approach the work by focusing exclusively on children, some through research, and others take a more holistic approach to healing. It’s this approach that is important to include in the mission statement.

To arrive at this kind of mission statement, you must get clear on your business operations philosophy. For instance, Mod Pizza’s approach is to put people first in all they do. A client of ours, Houston Area Parkinson’s Society, uses a “whole-human approach to community building.” Even business-to-business organizations can express a philosophy they take to their work, which may range from knowledge sharing to a culture of challenge. One of our favorite examples is Greyston Bakery, which operates with an Open Hiring model — its approach is so exclusive and unique to its organization, it has copyrighted it!

In markets that are rapidly commoditizing, what you do doesn’t set you apart from others. It’s how you do your work. This “how” informs your culture, your brand and your leadership style. It even impacts your marketing messaging, being the primary differentiating factor that should be shared in every instance. It’s important to remember, though, that ultimately this statement is used to define how you deliver on your purpose, and the two statements should be in lockstep with each other. How you do your work ultimately proves your dedication to making your purpose real in the world, and through your mission, you’re committing your utmost efforts to do so.

Overall, mission statements are just one piece of the Foundational Statement landscape. If you’d like to read more about all the statements that can help you support and realize your purpose, head here.

Featured Resource:

Learn the eight critical mindshifts that ignite purpose-led organizations in our latest e-book: Mindshifts on the Path to Purpose

Mindshifts on the Path to Purpose Book cover

Avatar photoSavage Brands believes in unleashing the good inherent within all organizations. Business results are driven by connecting with people at the belief level. That’s why we align everything a company says and does with its Purpose through a proven process that links strategy and execution with “why.” We solve the challenges corporate America faces by building tribal loyalty from the inside out, focusing on people first to deliver authentic brand experiences. Savage builds purposeful brands, communications, leaders and cultures.