Why Your Company Needs a Purpose Statement

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Mission statements should be extinct.  Companies should choose to have a purpose statement over a mission statement. Let’s start with the definition of the word mission: a specific task with which a person or group is charged.  The word mission has roots in religious and military vernacular.  A mission statement generally tells everyone how we are going to get to our goal.  With company’s needing to shift their business model to keep up with changing technology, having the rigid definition of how to get to a goal can diminish the company’s vision to be open to change.  Often mission statements wind up being found in obscure places in the organization and sound like a jingle only a stockholder would appreciate.

Purpose, on the flip side, is an intended desire or the reason something exists.  Having a shared purpose outlines where you want to be. It helps your people understand why they are at work.  When people are filled with purpose at their jobs, it’s not about failing or succeeding, it becomes about giving your personal best.  Purpose is the reason you spring out of bed in the morning, whereas mission is the reason you may find yourself laying in bed saying, “Wake me up when this over ;).”

Here are some more reasons why your company should choose to write a purpose statement that communicates the vision of your business over a mission statement:

  • Purpose is verbalizing the Law of Attraction.  One of the basic premises of the Law of Attraction is the Law of Intention.  When intention meets purpose, your people will have a burning desire to fulfill your company’s purpose.
  • Purpose doesn’t have a charted plan, but an overall path to success.  Typically, a mission has a detailed structured plan of attack.  What happens when you have a plan with no deviation?  You wind up missing out on new ways of doing things, akin to Blockbuster vs Red Box.  With purpose, you understand the path can and will be winding with collaboration, new ideas, and adjusting to new technologies.
  • Purpose is inspiring.  When fueled by purpose, I have a deep sense of happiness.  To me, when I’m on a mission, I’m focused on checking off the boxes to meet Mission: Accomplished.
  • Purpose implies more success for the greater good.  Most companies with great culture understand that a key part to great culture is  philanthropy.  This leads to people being more engaged in the company’s purpose for being in business because they know the work they produce is having a positive impact on their community.

Quite often if you ask someone to recite the company’s mission statement, you hear a few mumbled, haphazard sentences strung together discussing something about company jargon.  There’s typically no passion behind what is being said.  However, when you ask someone what the company’s vision statement is, their eyes light up.  It’s a few inspiring words that describes a way in which the company is going to transform the world.  Throw out your mission statement and replace it with a powerful, positive purpose statement.  What company’s purpose statements do you love?  Holla!

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