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How important is it to have a mission statement?

Covey in the 7 Habits was one of the first self improvement gurus to include in his book the importance of writing a mission statement. He called it "begin with the end in mind". He quotes Alice in wonderland's encounter with the cat.

Viktor Frankl said, “Everyone has his own specific vocation in life. Therein he cannot be replaced, nor can his life be repeated. Thus, everyone’s task is as unique as his specific opportunity to implement it.

We detect, rather than invent, our mission in life.”

“What is a mission?” you ask.

A mission is like a personal constitution. Based on the principles by which one decides to live, it is the basis for making day-to-day decisions amidst all the circumstances and emotions that affect our lives and making sure the decisions keep sight of our overall goals.

Organizations need mission statements. So do families, so that they do not simply lurch from emotional crisis to crisis, but instead know they have principles that will support them. In terms of business, a mission statement can be anything from, “Money money money,” to “Always put the customer first.” (A friend of mine started a financial-services company with a one-word mission statement: “Truth”. This, he feels, is what sets him apart from a lot of the financial-services firms out there.)

Many companies figure that they can just say something simple, like, “To offer the best service available.” But what makes the best service? Low prices? Excellent customer service? Full money-back guarantee? If you offer everything you can think of, you’ll put yourself right out of business.

How do you write a mission statement?

Answering the following 10 questions will help you to create a verbal picture of your company's mission:

1. Why are you in business (besides money)? What do you want for yourself, your employee