What Is Your Mission?
Time to Reconsider
A mission statement is usually understood to be a succinct statement of a person’s or a group’s reason for existence. It answers the question—what is your purpose now? By contrast, vision statements outline the purpose and values of a person or group in the future. It answers the question—what will your purpose be in the future?
I first became familiar with the concept of personal and corporate mission statements when I read The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (S. R. Covey). There are a number of online resources to help with generating a personal or group mission statement. One example at the Franklin Covey website guides an individual to consider 10 characteristics while devising a mission statement: performance, passion, talents, imagination, vision, character, contribution, conscience, influence, and balance. I recently went through the process of developing a mission statement at that website and found that my mission deviates from what I thought it was. It seems I am overdue for reconsidering my personal mission.
One of my missions in my business is to support the efforts of academic and research clients to obtain funding for research, teaching, and outreach projects. I do this because I find the breadth and depth of topics I encounter to be continually fascinating. It offers me limitless opportunities to learn about new topics. I find I enjoy this much more than my time spent as an academic when I was focused on what in hindsight seems like minutiae. A second reason I work with academic and research clients is because I truly enjoy assisting people to develop their projects and communicate their ideas in an effective way.
I have been interested in understanding the mission statements of people (see here and here), and the various agencies, foundations, and corporations I encounter through my work as a writer and editor. I am fascinated by the mission statements used by government institutions and other corporations. Do you know what organization uses the following words in its mission statement? To promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare; to secure the national defense…
Is it a good mission statement? Of course, it was written many years ago when times were simpler; it is a general statement and could encompass almost anything (except medical research)! The answer is here.
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