Most service organizations have a mission statement, and it’s often one of the first actions an organization will take when updating its strategic plan and vision. Without a mission statement, there is no clear definition of an organization’s purpose or goals.

Despite being a critical element in an organization’s ability to define success, it is not uncommon for most mission statements to be long, unmemorable and vague. When writing a mission statement, it is tempting not to be specific – being specific requires choosing not to be all things to all audiences. Writing mission statements can also encourage consensus-building: team approaches are great for planning, but not for writing succinct mission statements.

To develop a mission statement that inspires and guides teammates, follow three simple rules:

1. Keep it short
This can be difficult, especially for not-for-profits, but the shorter the statement the easier it is for your employees to remember and live.

2. Set a concrete goal
Lofty, abstract goals look great on paper, but mean nothing to the teammates that you rely on to embody your brand on a daily basis.

3. Define your audience
No company or organization can be relevant to everyone. Identify the people that are most likely to want or need your services.

Finally, keep in mind that just because your organization already has a mission statement it doesn’t mean that it will always be relevant. As organizations evolve and grow, so do the goals and purpose for its existence.

If you’re looking for inspiration, has a great sampling of mission statements from a wide variety of industries, and this Fast Company article is a great primer for writing mission statements that work.

Here are a few good examples I found:

Children’s Hospital Boston, Boston, MA

Care, research, teach, community

Care: Provide the highest quality health care

Research: Be the leading source of research and discovery

Teach: Educate the next generation of leaders in child health

Community: Enhance the health and well-being of the children and families in our local community

Brookville Hospital, Brookville, PA

Our Mission is to provide quality healthcare services to the communities that we serve in a cost effective manner.