The importance of a mission statement cannot be overstated. Every company and business organization should have one.

We have one: “Modern Tire Dealer’s editorial purpose is to help independent retail, commercial and wholesale tire dealers increase their profitability.”

We go on to explain how we accomplish that, but those initial 18 words sum up our goal.

The Tire Industry Association also had an 18 word mission statement, which read as follows: “The mission of TIA is to provide exceptional products and services benefiting both the public and the industry.”

Recently, however, TIA board members adopted a new mission statement that they feel more accurately represents the focus of the association’s efforts, especially over the last few years:

"The mission of TIA is to promote tire safety through training and education, to act as the principal advocate in government affairs, and to enhance the image and professionalism of the industry so that our member businesses may be more successful."

The updated mission statement “definitely reflects our identity as an organization,” says Roy Littlefield, TIA’s executive vice president.

Glenn Smith, owner and CEO of Glenn Smith Executive Coaching, lists seven reasons your company needs a clear, written mission statement. I would add Littlefield’s “reflects your identity as an organization” as an eighth.

1. It determines the company’s direction. “Smart business owners use this statement to remind their teams why their company exists because this is what makes the company successful,” says Smith.

2. It focuses the company’s future. “Many people refer to this as the ‘vision,’ which is different than the mission. The vision is about a preferred future."

3. It provides a template for decision-making. “A clear mission sets important boundaries (that) enable business owners to delegate both responsibility and authority.”

4. It forms the basis for alignment. “When a new employee is hired, it’s critical that the new hire know what the company does and where the company is going.”

5. It welcomes helpful change. “Many people are resistant to change because it causes us to feel insecure and sometimes out of control. However, if the mission is clear, then team members are more likely to see the value of the change and how it helps the organization accomplish the mission.”

6. It shapes strategy. “Instead of looking at what’s new or what competitors are doing and trying to copy them, wise business owners create the most effective strategies possible to accomplish the mission their company is set out to accomplish."

7. It facilitates evaluation and improvement. “It has been said that 'What you measure will be your mission.' If you have a clear, written statement of mission you will know exactly what to measure and how to measure it.”

By adding 23 words to its mission statement, TIA has achieved a greater level of clarity in its contemporary purpose. That can only help it going forward, especially on Capitol Hill.

So if you don’t have a mission statement, write one. And if you do, look it over from time to time to see if it still accurately reflects your mission. I'm sure the first eight words of Eastman Kodak Co.'s mission statement -- "Kodak is a technology company focused on imaging" -- is not the same as it was 10 years ago.

Author

Bob Ulrich
Bob Ulrich

Editor, Retired

Editor Bob Ulrich has earned a reputation as an industry expert thanks to his insightful, in-depth articles and blogs on the tire industry. Before joining Modern Tire Dealer in 1985, Bob earned a B.A. in English literature from Ohio Northern University. Also, he graduated from the University of Akron School of Law with a J.D.

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Editor Bob Ulrich has earned a reputation as an industry expert thanks to his insightful, in-depth articles and blogs on the tire industry. Before joining Modern Tire Dealer in 1985, Bob earned a B.A. in English literature from Ohio Northern University. Also, he graduated from the University of Akron School of Law with a J.D.

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