In the first part published on September 2, 2016 I tried to build the fundamentals. If you have not read it, it is expedient to do so to enable you follow the trend. To refresh us, I have reproduced what Glenn Smith said about mission statement:
Glenn Smith (2016) informs us that a clear written mission statement: determines the company’s direction, forms the basis for alignment, shapes strategy, facilitates evaluation and improvement among others.
I thereafter asked: What then are the characteristics of a clear written mission statement? It must be measureable, has a time frame, target audience and its main purpose…
To help us understand the importance of measuring your mission statement I am reproducing my mentor’s article below.
Her name is STACEY BARR, PERFORMANCE MEASURE SPECIALIST. The Balanced Scorecard Institute recognised her as the performance specialist. I have been privileged to attend her PuMP programme and I don’t fail to read her articles.
She has written one great book on this subject and another is scheduled for publication in February 2017. The title of the new book is Prove It.
According to Barr, “what ‘prove it‘ means is that we ought to be able to prove how our organisations are performing. It’s about evidence-based leadership, and it means doing something few organisations do: measure their mission. I’ve already written about why we should do this, but in today’s Measure Up, I’ll share with you an example of how to measure your mission, meaningfully”.
How to Measure Your Organisation’s Mission
Mission statements really ought to state the ultimate purpose of an organisation – its desired impact on its customers. To know if an organisation is fulfilling its mission (and isn’t that important to know?), it needs to be measured. But most mission statements are immeasurable.
What makes mission statements immeasurable is essentially the way they are written. If you’ve read my blogs and books over the years, you know I accuse weasel words of making our goals immeasurable. We first have to overcome that problem, and write out mission statements more clearly and specifically, like these:
- “To prevent cruelty to animals by actively promoting their care and protection.” — RSPCA
- “To make Australia the most desirable destination on earth.” — Australian Tourism
- “To make Australian sport stronger — to get more people playing sport and to help athletes pursue their dreams.” — Australian Institute of Sport.
These mission statements are measurable, because they clearly spell out the impact they want to make, and for whom they want to make that impact.
An excellent example of measuring the mission:
The National Alliance to End Homelessness (NAEH) in the US also has a very clear mission:
The Alliance works toward ending homelessness by improving homelessness policy, building on-the-ground capacity, and educating opinion leaders.
And to prove how well they are fulfilling this mission, they used measures like these:
- Average Length of Time Persons Remain Homeless
- Median Length of Time Persons Remain Homeless
- Percent of Persons Who Return to Homelessness
- Number of Homeless Persons
- Percentage of Homeless Persons Who Gain or Increase Income
- Number of Persons Who Become Homeless for the First Time
Using measures like these, it’s much easier to prove the impact that change programs have. To contribute to ending homelessness, one change program raised average incomes of people from $910 per month to more than $2000 per month within 18 months. And another change program for assisting people to remain in permanent housing exceeded their target of 75% and achieved 77%.
A framework for measuring your mission:
The key to measuring a mission in the simplest way is to describe tangibly the outcome we want. Following the basic 4-step framework that the NAEH uses, here’s how to do it:
- Who is the base population for your goal? Describe specifically who or what your organisation is trying to impact.
- What did you hope to achieve with this population? Describe, ideally in language a 10-year-old would understand, what that impact looks like.
- Within this population, how many persons achieved it? This is the kind of data you’ll capture to quantify the impact.
- And if you want a rate: Divide the number at Step 3 by the number of those in the base population from Step 1 (if you know that population size).DISCUSSION:
Do you measure your mission? If you do, please inspire us by sharing your mission and its measures. If you don’t, please share what makes it hard to do it.
I hope you gained a lot on how to write and measure your organisation’s mission statement? If you follow the article you will start thinking of the strategy to adopt to enable your company navigate its way out of difficulties /challenges.