How-To and Help / The Big Picture (Strategy)

Mission: create an aligning narrative

The best companies are almost always mission- driven
— Sam Altman, CEO, Y-Combinator

What:  A mission defines an individual, team or company's ultimate goal, and/or reason for being.  "We are on a mission to...(change the world in a specific way)."   It is the aligning narrative - the story that unites everyone in the company.

Don’t confuse a vision statement with your mission statement. Mission statements describe how your company will execute its vision. It’s the tactics that make the vision a reality. While vision statements are broad, mission statements should be narrow and specific.

Start with a broad vision and then think about crafting your specific mission.
— Patrick Hull, Forbes Contributor
TIP:  Like most of the things in ResultMaps, you can set up a hashtag for your mission elements so that anything with that hashtag will be automatically aligned.

Why:  While vision will outline the big picture in broad strokes (like a scene in a movie or book), mission focuses on the next level of detail by adding specifics. A clear mission informs decisions, allowing strategies and tactics to vary (as needed) while maintaining focus; it helps convey your purpose to your team, prospective team members and customers. It inspires creativity and innovation whether as a team mission or personal mission statement.

Where: ResultMaps, expose your personal mission (privately, to you only) and your teams' mission.  Use any of the views shown in the big picture menu, which includes the "big picture canvas" and "mission map" details screen.  Missions for specific teams can be seen on team pages. 

Things to know:  If you read 10 different authors and you'll get 10 different explanations of what goes into a good mission statement. It's hard to conclude there is any one "right way" to construct a mission. The best mission inspires and guides you and your teams.  Use companies you admire as a guide, or mission statements that inspire you as a basis for your own.

Next: Document your values (for teams and organizations) or the roles (if you are doing personal planning) that will realize your mission.  Note: roles will be discussed in a forthcoming blog post.  Email us if you'd like guidance before it's published.

Mission statements are nearly ubiquitous across planning and management methodologies, though some nuances exist.  

Most strategic planning frameworks recommend having a mission statement.  Some, such as versions of OKR (objectives and key results) start closer to the tactical level.

Jim Collins conceptualizes a mission as a "big hairy audacious goal" while Balanced Score Card defines it as "the reason why an organization exists."

The Entrepreneurial Operating System equates mission and purpose.

Franklin Covey's planners and methodologies use mission statements, as does Anthony Robbins and many other leading authors.

Mission statements are a component of vision as documented in Jim Collin's Good to Great research.

Methodologies and frameworks that use mission statements



Organizations that rely on mission statements

You can find example company mission statements from organizations like Lego, Khan Academy, Nike, Sony, Facebook, AirBnB, Patagonia and more in the mission statement examples section of our performance resource library.

ResultMaps' mission

  • Deliver great products that inspire and empower people, teams and organizations to be their best.