Can An Inspiring Mission Statement Get You To The Moon?

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After Two Years…

In 1996, British Airways was preparing to release a new mission statement. After nearly two years of debating, the management team had produced the following: ‘To be number one in world travel.’
 
How inspirational was this mission statement for employees? It wasn’t. In fact, the statement left questions.
 
For an airline what does being number one in world travel mean? Was the airline going to get into the hotel industry, or maybe car rentals? Could that also include travel agencies? Just what did being ‘number one in travel’ mean?
 

What Do Employees Want

Employees value being able to connect with an inspiring mission statement. Your staff will appreciate a mission statement that gives them purpose, meaning and a reason to get out of bed in the morning.
 
The best mission statements remind employees why the company is in business. Employees also like knowing how their work contributes to the mission. When staff can connect with the reason why the company exists, they will be more committed.
 

Examples

Below are mission statements from startup companies valued at more than $1 billion.
  • SpaceX – SpaceX was founded under the belief that a future where humanity is out exploring the stars is fundamentally more exciting than one where we are not. Today, SpaceX is actively developing the technologies to make this possible, with the ultimate goal of enabling human life on Mars.
  • Uber – Transportation as reliable as running water, everywhere for everyone.
  • Pinterest – Help people discover things they love and inspire them to go do those things in real life.
  • Slack – We’re on a mission to make your working life simpler, more pleasant, and more productive.

The Power Of A Mission 

In May 1961, President John F. Kennedy spoke these words, “I believe this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to Earth.” Now that is a mission statement that inspired people.
 
There is a story of Kennedy visiting NASA during the years leading up to the Apollo 11 mission. Kennedy stopped to talk with a man who was holding a mop. “And what do you do?”, He asked. The custodian replied, “I’m helping to put a man on the moon, sir.”
 

Your Turn 

What are your employees doing? Have you given them a clear and inspiring mission? Have you given them a strong ‘why’?
Trevor Wilson

Trevor Wilson

I love helping business owners who are passionate about making a positive difference in their clients' lives. I'm a passionate learner and teacher. My purpose is to help people live a more fulfilled life. In my professional life, I love helping business owners get clear on their purpose and identity. Then I help them clearly communicate their story so they can attract their ideal clients. I do this because I believe that when you work with your ideal clients you'll live a more fulfilled life.

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