Building Capacity...

—> Through Developing a Mission Statement

There are few things in an organization that inspire greater passion than the formation of a mission statement. Nothing is more fundamental; all goals, plans, and programs are an outgrowth of it. An ill conceived statement of mission can undermine the effectiveness of even the most capable organization; and it's surely in recognition of this that most founding boards of directors take great pains to develop and properly craft one. Indeed, at times it be a most contentious subject.

Why, then, once formed, is the mission statement so often left to languish on the shelf or perhaps reduced to little more than marketing tag lines?

We at the Center take the position that a mission statement has much more than symbolic importance, and that, indeed, it is the ultimate standard against which organization and program outcomes are defined and evaluated. As such it requires constant proofs in order to remain vital and relevant.

In short, any mission statement important enough to warrant careful deliberations for its initial formation is likewise important enough to warrant revisiting every three years in order to ensure (1) that it remains relevant and compelling and (2) that the organization is faithful to it and that its programs and budget reflect and embody its aims.

To this end, the Center has developed custom tools which help to measure and determine whether a mission statement has outlived its usefulness or whether it remains a living part of an organization. These tools help an organization to redefine its purpose and to derive its mission anew from its stakeholders rather than to impose one upon them.

To supplement our tools we use also the Baldrige Quality Process, the Carver Policy Governance Model, and the Peter Drucker Self-Assessment Tool. Each of these provides a framework and process for adapting your mission to changing times and conditions.