What is in a Mission Statement? Examples and Tips for Success

Throughout my experience with various organizations and work centers, mission statements have always played a pivotal role. They have acted not just as statements of intent, but as beacons, providing guiding light and direction amidst the complexities of organizational operations. These succinct statements have the power to clarify purpose, inspire stakeholders, and align actions.

This article tackles what is in a mission statement and what makes a strong mission statement, shares outstanding examples, and offers pragmatic advice for crafting one that can steer your organization toward success, just as they have steered those I have been part of.

What is a Mission Statement?

At its core, a mission statement defines the current purpose of an organization. It describes what the company does, whom it serves, and how it serves them. A clear and concise mission statement is more than just words; it’s a reflection of the organization’s heart and soul.

Difference Between Mission and Vision Statements

Though often used interchangeably, mission and vision statements indeed serve distinct and crucial roles within an organization. A mission statement articulates the organization’s current purpose, focusing on what the organization does now, who it serves, and how it serves them. It acts as a firm declaration of the company’s primary functions, its target audience, and its approach to meeting the needs of these audiences. This statement anchors the organization in the present and guides daily operations and decision-making processes.

On the other hand, a vision statement is forward-looking. It describes what the organization aspires to become in the future or the high aspirations it strives to achieve. This statement is intended to inspire and provide a sense of direction. While a mission statement is grounded in the present reality, a vision statement reaches into the future, offering a compelling image of what success looks like. It serves as a motivational tool that aligns the organization’s efforts toward achieving long-term goals.

Together, both statements are indispensable. The mission statement provides a solid foundation and immediate direction, while the vision statement opens pathways for growth and inspiration. Each plays a critical role in ensuring the organization not only understands its current activities but also has a roadmap for what it wants to achieve in the future. They together create a holistic strategic framework that guides the organization’s journey towards its ultimate objectives.

Examples of Mission and Vision Statements

Understanding the concepts of mission and vision statements in the abstract can sometimes be challenging. However, looking at real-world examples can bring clarity and inspire your own organization’s efforts. Below, you’ll find examples of mission and vision statements from well-known companies. These examples not only illustrate the difference between a mission statement (what a company does today) and a vision statement (what a company aspires to do in the future) but also showcase how these statements can guide and inspire an organization’s strategy and culture.

1. Google

  • Mission: “To organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”
  • Vision: “To provide access to the world’s information in one click.”

Google’s mission statement focuses on the present, detailing its ongoing commitment to organizing information. Its vision statement, however, reaches towards an ambitious future, emphasizing the ultimate ease and speed of access to information.

2. Nike

  • Mission: “To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world.”
  • Vision: “To help every athlete in the world realize their full potential.”

Nike’s mission statement defines its current objective of inspiring and innovating for every athlete. The vision statement extends this idea into the future, illustrating a world where every athlete achieves their full potential with Nike’s help.

3. Amazon

  • Mission: “To be Earth’s most customer-centric company, where customers can find and discover anything they might want to buy online.”
  • Vision: “To be Earth’s most customer-centric company, to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online.”

At first glance, Amazon’s mission and vision statements seem similar, emphasizing the customer-centric nature of the company. However, the vision statement underscores a broader future goal of being the singular online destination for discovery and purchase, capturing a more expansive ambition.

4. Coca-Cola

  • Mission: “To refresh the world in mind, body, and spirit. To inspire moments of optimism and happiness through our brands and actions.”
  • Vision: “To craft the brands and choice of drinks that people love, to refresh them in body and spirit.”

Coca-Cola’s mission statement focuses on its current purpose of refreshing and inspiring the world, while the vision statement paints a picture of the future where the company continues to be the top choice for satisfying and uplifting beverages.

5. Microsoft

  • Mission: “To empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.”
  • Vision: “To help people and businesses throughout the world realize their full potential.”

Microsoft’s mission statement zeroes in on empowerment as its immediate goal, offering tools and solutions for improvement. The vision statement expands this ambition, indicating a future where everyone reaches their fullest potential through Microsoft’s contributions.

Drawing Inspiration

These examples of mission and vision statements from industry leaders underscore the importance of clear, compelling statements that guide organizations. A well-crafted mission statement anchors an organization in the present, clarifying its purpose and operations. Simultaneously, a forward-looking vision statement provides a beacon for the future, offering inspiration and direction for what the company aspires to achieve. Together, they provide a framework that supports strategic decision-making and drives organizational success.

What is in a Great Mission Statement?

A great mission statement is more than just words on a page; it’s the heart and soul of an organization. It communicates purpose and direction not only to the external world but also internally to employees and stakeholders. Here are the essential components and characteristics that make up a powerful and effective mission statement:

1. Clarity and Conciseness

A great mission statement should be easy to understand, avoiding jargon and complex language. It should succinctly convey the organization’s purpose, target audience, and how it intends to serve that audience. Ideally, it can be easily memorized by employees and quickly grasped by customers or clients.

2. Inspirational Quality

While it is grounded in the present, a compelling mission statement should also inspire. It should motivate employees, resonate with customers, and instill a sense of pride and purpose. By connecting the organization’s daily activities to a broader impact, it can elevate work from routine to purposeful.

3. Specificity

Generalizations don’t make for effective mission statements. A great statement specifies what makes the organization unique, outlining its distinctive approach or values. This specificity helps differentiate the organization from its competitors and clarifies its unique selling proposition.

4. Alignment with Values and Culture

An authentic mission statement reflects the company’s core values and culture. It encapsulates not just what the company does, but also how it does it, guiding the behavior and decision-making processes within the organization. This alignment ensures that the statement is not just words, but a living part of the organization’s identity.

5. Flexibility

While specificity is important, a great mission statement also allows for growth and evolution. It should be broad enough to accommodate future expansion and adaptation, ensuring it remains relevant as the company evolves.

6. Action-Oriented Language

Powerful mission statements use action-oriented language to convey a sense of movement and progress. Words that evoke strength, determination, and commitment can energize the statement, making it a rallying cry for action.

Creating Your Missionomination Statement

Crafting a mission statement is a reflective process, requiring you to distill your organization’s essence into a succinct and powerful declaration. Here is a step-by-step approach to guide you through the creation of your mission statement, ensuring it captures the heart of your organization and serves as a beacon for your team and clientele.

Step 1: Assemble a Team

Involve people from various levels of your organization in the process. Diversity in perspectives will enrich the final statement. Include leaders for their vision, mid-level employees for their operational insight, and frontline staff for their customer interaction experiences.

Step 2: Clarify Your Purpose

Start by asking fundamental questions about why your organization exists. What problem are you trying to solve? Whom do you serve? What makes your organization unique? Answering these questions provides a foundation on which to build your mission statement.

Step 3: Identify Your Core Values

Every organization operates on a set of principles that influence its culture and decision-making processes. Identify and list these core values as they are instrumental in shaping your mission statement, ensuring it resonates with the intrinsic nature of your organization.

Step 4: Look for Inspiration

Review mission statements from organizations within and outside your industry. Note what resonates with you and why. This exercise isn’t about copying but gaining insights into what makes a mission statement effective and aligning these findings with your organization’s identity.

Step 5: Brainstorm and Draft

With your purpose and values as guides, brainstorm ideas for your mission statement. Encourage creativity and freedom of thought during this process. Compile a list of phrases and concepts that emerge and use them as building blocks for your draft.

Step 6: Refine and Simplify

Take your draft and refine it. Aim for clarity and conciseness. Remove jargon and complex language. Ensure your mission statement is easily understandable to someone unfamiliar with your organization. It should be succinct, ideally no longer than one or two sentences.

Step 7: Seek Feedback

Share your draft with different stakeholders, including employees, customers, and partners. Seek honest feedback and be open to suggestions. This feedback can be invaluable in ensuring your mission statement truly reflects the essence and aspirations of your organization.

Step 8: Finalize and Implement

Incorporate the feedback and finalize your mission statement. Once complete, share it broadly within and outside your organization. More importantly, ensure that it is integrated into every aspect of your organization, from daily operations to strategic planning. Your mission statement should guide decision-making and inspire your team.

Step 9: Review and Revise as Necessary

Your mission statement is not set in stone. As your organization grows and evolves, periodically review your mission statement to ensure it remains aligned with your purpose and aspirations. Be open to revising it to reflect any significant changes in your strategy or operations.

Creating your mission statement is a journey of discovery about your organization’s identity and aspirations. It’s a foundational process that can unite your team, guide your strategic direction, and communicate your purpose to the world.


A well-crafted mission statement is the cornerstone of any successful organization. It reflects the company’s purpose, inspires stakeholders, guides decision-making, and sets the stage for future achievements. By understanding the difference between a mission and a vision statement, embodying core values, and articulating your aspirations clearly and concisely, you can craft a mission statement that propels your organization toward its goals.