Author: Jim Riley Last updated: Sunday 23 September, 2012
A strategic plan starts with a clearly defined
Mintzberg defines a mission as follows:
“A mission describes the organisation’s
basic function in society, in terms of the products and services it produces
for its customers”.
A clear business mission should have each of the following
Taking each element of the above diagram in turn, what
should a good mission contain?
(1) A Purpose
Why does the business exist? Is it to create wealth for shareholders? Does
it exist to satisfy the needs of all stakeholders (including employees, and
society at large?)
(2) A Strategy and Strategic Scope
A mission statement provides the commercial logic for the business and so
defines two things:
- The products or services it offers (and therefore its competitive position)
- The competences through which it tries to succeed and its method of competing
A business’ strategic scope defines the boundaries of its operations.
These are set by management.
For example, these boundaries may be set in terms of geography, market, business
method, product etc. The decisions management make about strategic scope define
the nature of the business.
(3) Policies and Standards of Behaviour
A mission needs to be translated into everyday actions. For example, if the
business mission includes delivering “outstanding customer service”,
then policies and standards should be created and monitored that test delivery.
These might include monitoring the speed with which telephone calls are answered
in the sales call centre, the number of complaints received from customers,
or the extent of positive customer feedback via questionnaires.
(4) Values and Culture
The values of a business are the basic, often un-stated, beliefs of the people
who work in the business. These would include:
• Business principles (e.g. social policy, commitments to customers)
• Loyalty and commitment (e.g. are employees inspired to sacrifice their
personal goals for the good of the business as a whole? And does the business
demonstrate a high level of commitment and loyalty to its staff?)
• Guidance on expected behaviour – a strong sense of mission helps
create a work environment where there is a common purpose
What role does the mission statement play in marketing planning?
In practice, a strong mission statement can help in three main ways:
• It provides an outline of how the marketing plan should seek to fulfil
• It provides a means of evaluating and screening the marketing plan;
are marketing decisions consistent with the mission?
• It provides an incentive to implement the marketing plan
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