How to Write a Small Business Mission Statement
At Kuvio, we have recently been having more conversations about what we do, what our goals are, and how we communicate them. We found these topics were becoming a common thread throughout a lot of our internal meetings. A few of us got to discussing that we did not have a formal company vision or mission statement. Generally, we are all thinking along the same lines, but we wanted to solidify it.
Then the Kuvio mission, vision, and values workshop was born!
Our team recently spent two hours together participating in several exercises to create a mission statement, vision statement, and set of core values. We wanted to do this for several reasons. Internally, we want our team to be untied and know what we are working toward. We also want to be able to concisely explain to our clients what we are about. These statements can also be used to drive future decision making.
We decided to invite our entire team of 20 to the workshop and had just over 75% participation. We chose to run the workshop this way because we want these statements to serve as a unifying guide. So we wanted to create statements that everyone is engaged by and so that we are all working toward a mission we believe in. Additionally, we will be able to unify our external messaging. Finally, we hold the belief that diverse perspectives generate the best ideas, and inviting everyone to participate allowed this to happen.
If you have a larger organization, you may need to narrow down your participants. One way to do this is by forming a volunteer committee that wants to participate. Something to keep in mind is the departments the participants come from to ensure all aspects of the organization are represented.
We held our workshop over Zoom so we could use the breakout room feature and then continued the conversation in Slack during the statement editing process.
Together the team completed four exercises. Each built on the last to generate ideas leading us to our desired finished products. I will describe each activity here, and you can also download the full slide deck template we used during the workshop below.
1. The first activity was focused around getting everyone on the same page about what a mission statement is and should do. We asked every team member to bring an example of a mission statement that they either love or hate and share why. We also had some of our own examples to share to kick the discussion off. As a full group, we discussed the following four questions:
What is a mission statement?
Do you think a mission statement is important? Why?
What makes a good mission statement?
What makes a bad mission statement?
2. Next, we did our first activity in break out groups; we created four groups of four people. Each group had access to a Brand Deck, which is a comprehensive list of company values. The groups were then asked to sort the values into four categories: What We Are, What We Are Not, Unsure, and N/A. To do this virtually, we created interactive boards in Trello where the groups could sort the cards. We asked each group to narrow and prioritize their What We Are lists until they had 5–7 core values. Then we all came back to the large group and discussed each list, identifying commonalities and differences.
3. Our next exercise focused on vision statements. We first shared a few vision statement examples and discussed the difference between a mission statement and a vision statement. Then we sent teams back to the breakout groups to answer the question, “If our success could be guaranteed, what would be the end result of our efforts?” Each group generated 1–3 answers to that question, and then we regrouped as a whole team for a discussion.
4. Finally, we asked each participant to take time to write 1–2 insight statements that would serve as a base for our mission statement. We provided a sample format for the statements: We will (action) for (what clients do we serve) so that (result of action). After everyone had the chance to work on their statements independently, we left time for the team members to share and discuss. After the exercises were complete, we left time for any other questions or comments. Then we closed out for the day. The two workshop leaders took a few days to review all of the content that had been created and generated a draft mission statement, vision statement, and set of values.
This draft was posted in our team Slack channel, and we opened up a discussion for edits and feedback. After some changes, we landed on a final document. We now have a mission statement, vision statement, and core values list that will be used on our website and in our company handbook, proposals, and marketing materials. We plan to reevaluate the statements every few years to ensure that they still ring true to what we are doing.
Overall, we got great feedback from across the team from this workshop, not just because of the finished products but also because it gave the team a great opportunity to connect and discuss our goals. We all left feeling unified and excited about the future!
Originally published at https://www.kuv.io.