Mission Statements: What Are They, and Why Are They Important?
It probably seems like it should be obvious. The mission of a veterinary practice is to take care of animals. Got it… next!
But a mission statement is more than another checkbox to tick. Mission statements help businesses large and small maintain focus on what really matters to them. Oftentimes a mission statement helps you figure out what not to do as much as what you should be doing.
Another important component to a mission statement is that it helps your team understand what your practice is all about. What you as a leader care about and what they should expect being part of your team.
What is a mission statement?
It can mean different things to different organizations, but generally it is a sentence or two that articulates the purpose a business serves its customers, its employees, and its community.
What is the difference between a good mission statement and a mediocre one?
Good (or great) mission statements inspire, provide clarity, and foster connection with your customers and employees. Want to drive connection? Generate an emotional response.
The simplest mission statements often look like:
[ABC Company/Practice/Group] is a [type of business] that serves [type of customers] and is committed to [something you strive to deliver].
That might look like:
Pawsitively Pups is an emergency veterinary clinic that delivers best-in-class medical services to pups in crisis in Anywhere, USA. We are committed to providing exceptional care to animals and total transparency to pet parents.
This statement clearly articulates the what, the who, and the how.
An alternative can focus on the ‘why’
Catty Cats believes that all furry felines deserve to have the best medical care from their first meow to their last purr. We are committed to loving, gentle care with the highest medical standards. Everyone in our practice is a ‘cat person’ and welcomes feline fans of all breeds.
One of the most interesting examples of an inspiring option is the Starbucks mission statement.
“To inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time.”
It doesn’t say a word about coffee (thought the word ‘cup’ is there) – and their goal is about bringing joy to the human spirit. Not about selling a $7 latte or mystery pink drink. That mission statement has helped Starbucks create a community center in each of its locations, focusing on the people who live nearby. What nurtures a human spirit? Good food, good drink, comfortable places to connect with friends or colleagues, great music, great WiFi, and (usually) clean bathrooms. The mission helps Starbucks keep their eye on the prize – the care and feeding of their customers’ spirits.
Questions to ask to help you with crafting your statement:
Why do we do what we do?
What value does our practice bring to the animals for whom we care? The pet parents who love them?
What are the core beliefs we hold as an organization?
What do we do that is different from other practices? What is unique about us?
Why do the people that work here choose to work here, instead of the practice down the road or a business in another industry altogether?
As you think about your own mission statement, here are a few famous ones that could provide inspiration.
Sweetgreen: To inspire healthier communities by connecting people to real food.
IKEA: To create a better everyday life for the many people.
Patagonia: We’re in business to save our home planet.
Microsoft: To empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.
Pinterest: Bring everyone the inspiration to create a life they love.
Nike: Bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world. If you have a body, you are an athlete.