Too many leaders think a mission statement is just words on a page, when really, it could be their ace in the hole.

Raise your hand if you know the purpose of your company. Okay, so that’s about half of you. For those of you who don’t know the purpose or mission statement, may I ask, why are you working there…what’s guiding you? Ah — the paycheck. Understood. However, I’ll bet you’re not that happy and you’re probably searching for another job.

Before misery takes a stronger hold, find out the mission of the company. You’ll definitely learn more about it and you might just like the organization enough to help the company grow. Ask your manager or leader.

What? They don’t know it either?

That sums up a few leadership research studies I dove into over the last month. On average, just over 40 percent of the people know the purpose of the company. But are they personally aligned with its message? I did a little study of my own.

I polled 100 people: 16 business owners, 18 management/leaders, and 66 team members/department employees. Of the 66 employees, five could spill out some words of the mission statement. Of the 18 management/leaders, two knew the mission statement. Of the 16 business owners, one knew it verbatim and one recited half of the statement. The other 14 owners knew they had one, but forgot what it said.

Comments from the poll:

“Mission statements are all fluff. It’s just words put on paper. No one follows it.”

“What’s a mission statement?”

“No, I don’t know it and why would I want to know it. I just work here.”

(Are any jaws dropping?)

Companies are built from a dream and people become part of that vision. It’s impossible to move forward with an organization if people don’t understand the reason it exists. The Millennial generation can’t seem to commit to any one job and part of that reason is because they want to feel as though they belong and that they are making a difference in the world. If they knew the purpose of the organization, they could visualize where they fit in and how they can help promote its message.

Mission statements are a valuable piece to the core of the company, yet they seem to be MIA. They set the ground rules and help leaders stay focused on a day to day basis. When conflict arises, a new project is at hand, and/or new goals are to be set, the company statement should be included as a guide. A good mission statement is a leaders’ ace in the hole.

Managers cannot effectively lead without knowing why they’re there and the mission statement supplies that vision. It gives meaning to why the organization started in the first place, what it wants to accomplish, and what it aspires to become. Leaders are the pathfinders that follow and use the mission as a guiding light. Everyday.

Mission-based leadership is trending. It separates the good leaders from the great. It aligns the message, the values, and the brand in order to make bold, confident moves.

And when you align your purpose — your own passion, with the business purpose, momentum strikes! Your team is unstoppable.

Dust off your mission statement. Maybe it needs to be refreshed. Maybe other departments could benefit from their own message — aligning with the same ideals.

Mission statements are adventurous; they yearn to change the world. They reach for the star that’s hiding behind the other one. They inspire people to keep moving onward and upward and challenge the mainstream to say, ‘why not?’ They “dream the impossible dream.”

Leaders, your role has greater meaning, greater purpose, and greater adventure when you have greater insight into the reason you were chosen for this mission. If you choose to accept it, that is.

Photo: Startupstockphotos.com

Originally shared at Good Men Project.

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