Every organization needs a purpose statement. This tool explains what a purpose statement is and provides examples, a process, and four questions that need to be answered in order to develop a strong purpose statement.
A purpose statement captures succinctly why the organization exists and what it does. It should be memorable enough so that everyone connected to the organization can remember it and use it.
A purpose statement is one corner of the triad that forms the foundation of a healthy organization. The other two corners are values and the vision. (LRI offers tools that show how to develop values and visions.)
We encourage companies to develop a purpose statement rather than a mission statement. A mission statement tends to be a hodgepodge of purpose, values and vision, resulting in a lack of clarity and focus.
A solid purpose statement, on the other hand, can be easily used as a benchmark for decision-making and planning. It can also be used to build morale – and gain support and understanding inside and outside the organization.
3M: Our purpose is to solve unsolved problems innovatively.
Merck: Our purpose is to preserve and improve human life.
Walt Disney: Our purpose is to make people happy.
SETI Institute: Our purpose is to explore, understand, and explain the origin, nature, prevalence and distribution of life in the universe.
Fannie Mae: Our purpose is to strengthen the social fabric by continually democratizing home ownership.
Hewlett-Packard: Our purpose is to make technical contributions for the advancement and welfare of humanity.
Sony: Our purpose is to experience the joy of advancing and applying technology for the benefit of the public.
Wal-Mart: Our purpose is to give ordinary folk the chance to buy the same things as rich people.
“Apex Systems supplies technically innovative software and hardware solutions to the OEM computer market that provide long-term benefits to our customers and our investors.”
Instructions: Taking into consideration your thoughts above, what is the essential purpose of the organization? Boil it down to a single sentence that is simple and memorable. Bring this sheet with you and be prepared to share it with members of your planning team.