Mission: Not Impossible

By Ginyard, Robert | Independent Banker, March 2001 | Go to article overview

Mission: Not Impossible


Ginyard, Robert, Independent Banker


Four steps to develop an effective mission statement

What do most successful community banks have in common? A clear, concise mission statement. Why? Because mission statements keep organizations focused, motivate employees and lets your customers know what your bank is all about and why it exists.

Most business organizations think they have a mission statement, but what they typically have is a uniformly shared value system. While this value system is important to the mission statement, it does not automatically translate to a mission statement that customers can relate to and understand. For your mission statement to be effective, it should hit home with the people who work in and for your bank.

These vision statements, corporate philosophies or corporate objectives as they are sometimes called, don't have to be long. A few companies have mission statements that are only a sentence. However, six major questions should be answered in your mission statement, regardless of its length. They are:

* What business are you in?

* Who are your customers?

* What are your bank's values, beliefs, corporate philosophy and goals?

* How do you want to be perceived by the public and the communities you serve?

* What are your bank's competitive advantages?

Writing your mission statement should not be approached lightly. After all, you're talking about something that will identify your bank now and, it is hoped, well into the future. Here are four suggestions to develop a clear, concise mission statement for your bank.

* Do your research. Before you write your mission statement, ask your employees and customers to write down what comes to mind when they think of a good company. Some responses might be: allows employees to be innovative and creative; provides excellent customer service; reinvests in the community through outreach programs; has leading-edge technology; and is fun and exciting.

In reviewing responses, identify any common characteristics or qualities revealed. …

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