Mission Statements

Capture and define an inspirational purpose of an organization as the starting point of a strategy development process
Contributed by

Geoff Probst

Published June 27, 2023

What Is Mission Statements?

A mission statement is the starting point of crafting a strategy for any type of organization, entity. It should briefly (typically one or two sentences) define why an organization exists, and be an inspirational, clear statement that explains and drives the organization to an overall strategic destination.

Why Do Mission Statements?

A Mission statement defines the fundamental purpose of an organization, entity or engagement. It should inform everyone from executives to employees about the overall goal they have come together to realize as a team. It can also be used as a starting point for a large undertaking within a group.

A solid mission statement serves as the ultimate alignment tool for what an organization is trying to accomplish.

How to do Mission Statements?

The Mission Statement can be created from a client meeting, series of interviews, standalone facilitated practice or as part of a workshop. The goal of this process is to identify the overarching reason why the organization, entity or engagement exists today. 


During interviews with customer sponsors for an engagement or executives of an entity, the interviewer should focus on main concepts in crafting a Mission statement. Those concepts are address via the questions listed below:

  1. Why do we exist?
  2. Who does the organization/engagement serve?
  3. Why does the organization/engagement care?

Make sure the interviewer asks the same questions to get consistent results. Varying the questions makes it difficult to find patterns in the results. Consistency is key.

From each of the interviews, the information should be aggregated and synthesized into one or two sentences to be reviewed with sponsors or executives. Depending on the number of sponsors or executives, the review could be handled via email or a short meeting. If there are several participants, a workshop approach is most likely a better option. Results from an interview process with multiple interviewees can be used as the initial draft(s) of the mission statement.


A mission practice or workshop follows a similar approach to the interviews. All of the main concept questions are addressed as a group. There are a couple of ways to approach this workshop.

This approach is good for a small number of executives/leaders.

  1. (30 min) Using silent collaboration, ask the attendees each of the key questions. Give 10 minutes for individuals to write down their answers and post all answers for each question in place where everyone can view them

    • Ask: “Why do we exist?” (10 min)
    • Ask: “Who does the organization/engagement serve?” (10 min)
    • Ask: “Why does the organization/engagement care?” (10 min)
  2. (15 min) Have each individual craft their own personal mission statement based on all the information shared by all team members.  Once again, remind everyone that the statement must be inspirational and concise (1-2 sentences).

  3. (30 min) Go around the group and have every individual share their statement.  Note which phrases are compelling or invoke emotion.

  4. (20-40 min) Keep reviewing and iterating until the group reaches a consensus.

  5. (10 min) Once the final mission statement is agreed to, try asking these questions as a litmus test:

    • Does the final mission statement invoke emotion?
    • Would you wear the mission statement on a t-shirt?
    • Would your associates / staff wear the mission statement on a t-shirt?

    Hint: Review the video at the bottom of this practice for additional tips on mission statements.

Look at Mission Statements

Links we love

Check out these great links which can help you dive a little deeper into running the Mission Statements practice with your team, customers or stakeholders.

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