How your company mission​ statement relates to goals and objectives?

A company mission​ statement statement is who you are as an organization. It tells the world what you are about. Your mission statement helps set objectives and goals for everyone who works there. It tells you what products and services you need to have. And most importantly, a good mission statement tells your customers if you provide what they want and need.

Writing a company mission​ statement is an exercise in brand identity. It is no easy task, especially for businesses that already have existing products and services that were never cohesively directed towards a common goal. Products are services do NOT exists solely to make money. Every time someone purchases a good or service they believe they are getting something in return for their money. If you have customers you have impact into the world. Your mission statement should explain that effect.

Directing company mission and objectives
Your mission statement sets the road on which your organization heads

How do you write a company mission statement

You write a good company mission​ statement statement by really understanding what your company actually does for the market you are in. That doesn’t mean what you sell and it doesn’t mean what metrics and financials your are currently experiencing. Great mission statements align ALL decision makers in an organization around a central goal and objective. Let’s take a look at a couple example mission statements below from VERY well known organizations.

Apple’s Company Mission Statement

Apple’s 1980 company mission​ statement is very different from their mission statement today, but you can see the DNA of the company and leadership that spawn modern day apple. This is that mission statement from the first Steve Jobs Era from 1980 (according to The Economist and Business Insider),

“To make a contribution to the world by making tools for the mind that advance humankind.”

~ Steve Jobs 1980

Let’s break down the statement above in hindsight. When we look at Apple’s goal it really was to change the world. Looking back on the world between 1980 and today, I think it is clear they have definitely made an impact with how we see design, interact with devices, and extensively the world around us. Could you imagine a world where you didn’t have GPS when you drive or internet on your phone? A world where media wasn’t consumed on mobile? Obviously many other companies contributed to the world we live in today but you can see even in that original mission statement it was a contribution not the end all of change.

Microsoft’s Company Mission​ Statement

We can’t talk about Apple without talking about Microsoft. This is actually one of my favorite modern day company mission​ statement. See below, Microsoft’s mission statement taken right from their homepage on 05/20/2020.

“Our mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.”

~ Microsoft Homepage 2020
Microsoft vision statement

Microsoft has a spotty record in public opinion about being forward thinking, but that aside I LOVE how this is front and center on their homepage. It instantly tells the world what their company is about. For those who join the organization as employees you know what you will be doing and whether that is a mission that matters to you. If you are a customer you too can identify with whether what Microsoft does is something you want or need.

What is a good company mission​ statement?

A good mission statement gives purpose to an organization. It is the meaning of why they are there in the world. A mission statement is what decisions and directions a company takes should be measured against. Good decisions help achieve and advance a mission. Bad decisions move company away from their mission. As a leader you must be able to answer the question, is what I am doing helping us achieve our mission?

Use your company mission​ statement as a compass to gauge directions and decisions
Use your company mission​ statement as a compass to gauge directions and decisions

What is a bad company mission​ statement?

Bad mission statements are often long and unfocused. They may also be too broad and “want to do it all”. Bad mission statements may also be generic, for example making one million dollars in profit is not really a mission and doesn’t say much about what your company is trying to do.

Cook era Apple is WIDELY criticized for having an awful mission statement (not a hot takes here it’s fairly common opinion). That said, I did look into it more to see if this REALLY was their mission statement and I must say I’m still not totally convinced it is but it has been cited numerous times by both primary and secondary sources. It also appears in the same format in both their 2015 and 2020 investor relations press releases. As we highlighted earlier though a mission statement should be something both employees and customers can rally behind. IT SHOULD BE WAY EASIER TO FIND than digging into a press release PDF buried on the site.

I am putting both on here to show that they have used this format for quite some time. That said, if anyone knows a better place to get an official EXPLICIT “Mission Statement” from and Apple primary source please let me know as I would love to replace this nonsense,

Apple Investor Relations Press Release 2015

Apple designs Macs, the best personal computers in the world, along with OS X, iLife, iWork and professional software. Apple leads the digital music revolution with its iPods and iTunes online store. Apple has reinvented the mobile phone with its revolutionary iPhone and App Store, and is defining the future of mobile media and computing devices with iPad.

Apple Investor Relations Press Release 2020

Apple revolutionized personal technology with the introduction of the Macintosh in 1984. Today, Apple leads the world in innovation with iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch, and Apple TV. Apple’s five software platforms — iOS, iPadOS, macOS, watchOS, and tvOS — provide seamless experiences across all Apple devices and empower people with breakthrough services including the App Store, Apple Music, Apple Pay, and iCloud. Apple’s more than 100,000 employees are dedicated to making the best products on earth, and to leaving the world better than we found it.

Apple Press Release April 30th, 2020

Their modern day “mission statement” (air quotes so you can read into the skepticism), is just a list of product lines and brags. At BEST you could say it’s living in the past and MAYBE is driven to “provide seamless experiences across all Apple devices and empower people with breakthrough services“. I’ll give them that a seamless experience IS A POTENTIAL MISSION (one that I do think they have made huge inroads on). But a breakthrough service isn’t really a defined thing, it’s just an adjective. Does a customer actually benefit from a breakthrough? What constitutes a breakthrough?

Broad unfocused company mission​ statements lead to many different directions
Broad unfocused company mission​ statements lead to many different directions

Looking at that mess of a mission and comparing against the original Apple mandate you can see why many critics believe Apple has lost their way (this doesn’t mean they are failing financially or anything just that they are not focused on a direction or purpose).

To make a contribution to the world by making tools for the mind that advance humankind.”

~ Steve Jobs 1980

How do you write goals and objectives?

You write goals and objectives hierarchically. Goals and objectives after often used interchangeably. Generally though, a goal is considered a bigger finish line than an objective however. There usually is ONE GOAL with many OBJECTIVES on the way to that goal. That said, missions, goals, and objectives all live on a pyramid. What is an objective for one employee is likely a goal for another. A basic rule of thumb is, the further down the pyramid you are in a company the more your GOAL is going to look like a task. Conversely, the higher up the pyramid you are your GOAL is going to require a project, program, or portfolio to to achieve.

One person's objective could be a goal for the person below
One person’s objective could be a goal for the person below them

What is the most important goal of a company?

The most important goal for a company is to achieve their mission statement. To realize that change in the world it sought after. Implied with that is staying alive and profiting. Why is profiting not the goal? A company profits to grow and grows to profit. Profit is a side effect and tool to complete your mission. While your company profits and grows its influence and power grows and all the while customers consume and realize the EFFECTS of your products and services ADVANCING your MISSION.

Your #1 goal is to realize your company mission​ statement
Your #1 goal is to realize your company mission​ statement

How do company objectives and goals relate to the company mission​ statement?

Achieving your company mission is your number one goal and objective. If you want your business to do anything, it should do that. No one jumps to the end though, you need to build your way there. Your company needs to survive long enough and grow big enough to affect change and realize your mission. This is why business leaders must SET smaller goals and objectives to help make this a reality.

Example relation between a Mission Statement, Goals, and Objectives

Let’s use a hypothetical scenario where you are a hardware manufacturer who wants to make the world a better place by improving education for children.

  • Mission Statement: Provide access to educational technology for all children.
    • Strategic Goal – Develop affordable hardware alternative.
      • Objective – Design laptop case that can be easily stamped or injection molded so it can be produced with common machining tools.
      • Objective – Design simple PCB with bare essentials for educational use cutting down on manufacturing cost
      • Objective – Design smaller CPU dies to fit more on a each wafer reducing CPU unit cost
    • Strategic Goal – Create Manufacturing and Supply Chain in Developing Countries
      • Objective – Identify what developing regions have sufficient population to support customer and labor market
      • Objective – Ensure area has access to raw materials and components
      • Objective – Drop new factories into those markets

While the above is a highly simplified example (don’t use it to actually try to build a new laptop company), it should clear demonstrate how decisions flow downwards from the company mission.

With a a good company mission statement, each member of the organization knows what their company is trying to do. Even with minimal direct supervision, employees have an idea if what they are doing HELPS or HINDERS that mission from becoming a reality. So every goal that is set, every objective mapped on the way to that goal can be weighed against the direction the business is heading.

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How your company mission​ statement relates to goals and objectives?
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How your company mission​ statement relates to goals and objectives?
A mission statement is who you are. It tells the world what you are about. It set objectives and goals for employees and expectations for customers.
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