The Strategic Roadmap – The Importance of Developing a Mission Statement

May 10, 2018

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In this episode of “Generations in Family Business: Past, Present and Future”, Matt Kerzner and Tim Schuster discuss the importance of mission statement and how this is part of the Strategic Roadmap Process.


Transcript

Tim Schuster: Welcome to our podcast for Generations in Family Business: Past, Present and Future. Our hosts for this podcast are myself, Tim Schuster, a manager in the Center for Family Business Excellence. And our other host is …
Matt Kerzner: …Matt Kerzner, senior manager for the Center for Family Business Excellence.

TS: In continuing with our discussion regarding the strategic roadmap, we want to highlight the first step in our strategic roadmap, which has to do with the mission—the mission statement of the business. What I would like to discuss first is what is a mission statement and why is it important to develop one for your organization?
MK:Great question, Tim. A mission statement is a brief description of the company’s fundamental purpose. It answers the question “why does our business exist?”
TS: Very important.
MK:Extremely.
TS: You have to determine that first before you can start off with the business side. So, what are the steps of developing a solid mission statement?
MK:It’s important for the leadership of the organization to first get a pulse check from their employees of how they’re doing. It’s not just with their internal employees but also their external customers.
TS: Absolutely.
MK:The best way to do this is for the organization to go through a SWOT analysis. They should analyze their strengths, weakness, opportunities and threats. They should use a bottom-up approach, talk to their employees, talk to their vendors, and talk to key customers. Once they find their gaps and their strengths, then the leadership could take a strategy meeting to really think through what they’re really good at, what areas they need to improve. Once they do that, they’ll brainstorm these one-sentence phrases that sum up their organization. It’s not an easy process. There’s a lot of debate involved, but once you have a solid statement that you can rally your employees around and it’s easy for them to remember, then it’s successful.
TS: That makes sense. Do you find it easier to have a simpler statement as opposed to a more complicated statement? What do you see as a better way for businesses to succeed?
MK:Great question. I always say the simpler the better. If it’s too complex and the employees can’t understand it then they can’t be it. Keep it simple. Keep it light. Keep it to one sentence, maybe two, and then hold your employees accountable to know it.
TS: That makes sense. Now I know you were discussing before about keeping everyone involved. Are there other key people you think should be involved in developing a mission statement?
MK:Yes. If it’s a family organization, if you have several generations, those who came before, those who are in it and those who are going to come, they should all have their fingerprints on developing a mission statement. Especially if it’s going to be not just for today, but for the future. So learn from the past, live in the present and prepare for the future.
TS: Makes sense. How often should a mission statement be reviewed?
MK:Like I said, it takes a good solid strategic planning session to put one together. I like a strategic roadmap. It should be reviewed at least once a year. If there’s going to be a strategy meeting once a year to put your goals together, you should look at your mission statement and see if you’ve added more or if you’re diversified to your organization, then you might have to reflect that in the mission statement. But if you have a five-year strategic plan and you only look at it every other year, then that’s fine as well. But you just want to make sure it’s relevant.
TS: That makes sense.
MK:Right.
TS: Keep it up to speed with everything that’s going on. That makes complete sense and actually that’s really most of the questions I have. Do you have any other questions?
MK:Well, it’s not a question, but I think it’s important that organizations take the time and take a step back, look at what their current mission statement is, analyze it, and make sure it’s reflecting who they are today.
TS: You see that a lot with businesses that are just going through redevelopment phases all the time, and this is just a way for them to keep relevant, just to make sure that everyone is involved in that process.
MK:Yes.
TS: Well, thank you so much for listening to Generations in Family Business, Past, Present and Future, as part of our EisnerAmper podcast series. We’re going to be talking about the next phase in our strategic roadmap which has to do with core values. Things that we’re going to think about are what do we believe in, are we currently in line with our values? And if you have any questions or there’s a topic you’d like us to cover, please email us at contact@eisneramper.com. Visit EisnerAmper.com for more information on this, and a host of other topics. We look forward to have you listen in on our next EisnerAmper podcast.

About Matthew Kerzner

Mr. Kerzner is a Director in the Center for Family Business Excellence. Matt has more than 25 years of experience in organizational development with a specialization in assisting family businesses and closely held businesses.

About Tim Schuster

Mr. Schuster is a Senior Manager providing tax compliance services to individual filers, as well as assistance on tax returns for companies in the manufacturing and real estate industries.

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