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Your Mission Statement Sucks. Here's How to Craft One That Works

April 11, 2017

In this article, COO Brad Federman was interviewed by Inc. to give tips on how to write a successful mission statement. Besides serving as a touchstone, your company's mission statement can work for you. Here's how to craft one that pulls its weight.

The much-maligned company mission statement can be a powerful and lasting sales tool. Here's how to start.

Ask why, not what

Before you pen a mission statement, consider why your company exists, not just what it does. One company's execs told Brad Federman, COO of consulting firm F&H Solutions Group, "We make electrical parts. It isn't sexy." But its components are in the Empire State Building and the Golden Gate Bridge. That led to a new perspective and a clear mission: "We help build and sustain American icons through quality American manufacturing."

Keep it short

Three sentences are about the most you should ever have," says Federman. "If there are a lot of paragraphs, people won't remember them. One of the best was Pepsi's one-time mission statement 'Beat Coke.' People would come to work thinking, 'How do I beat Coke today?' "

If you can't do it right, don't do it

"If a consultant or marketing firm wrote it for you with nice, flowery language, it's meaningless," Federman says. A bad mission statement can hurt you, he adds. "If it says one thing and people see the company doing something different, it creates doubt in employees' and customers' minds. You're better off without one."