Mission Statement Drifting

Is your Mission Statement Drifting? Every early stage startup has a mission statement and a set of employees with job titles and employment contracts (job descriptions usually come later).

If you have an outsider ask each officer and key employee to describe the mission statement; how aligned are the responses? You really need to try this; frequently the responses will be more diverse than you had hoped.If the range of understanding is concerning; have the outsider ask the same question of the rest of your employees.

Maybe you just need to tighten up the written descriptions in your business plan departmental plans and written descriptions of associated processes. Maybe you need to do more.

Most employees are not as aware as they should be, that a startup needs to be on a focused march in one direction. They usually do not think of how their performance needs to fit into the departmental and corporate performance like a well oiled and high speed machine.

Stop that Mission Statement Drifting

It may be necessary to consider refocusing the Mission Statement, the job titles, the roles and objectives; at every level of the startup. This happens almost casually when their are just two co-founders doing a pivot. As the number of officers and employees increase, change and re-alignment becomes more complex.

So let’s assume that you wish to refocus your mission statement and align it with staff, and establish that all are on the same page. You must stop your mission statement drifting and gain control of your staff. Do this in writing.

Refocus and re-align your mission statement and staff

If you are really in trouble you need to do all of the below tasks.

  • Write down the business that you are in
  • Confirm your target market segments
  • Rewrite your mission statement to be accurate and current.
    As Inc says in the article Developing Effective Mission and Vision Statements

    • What do we do?
    • How do we do it?
    • For whom do we do it?
  • But remember that for an early stage startup your Mission Statement should address only the next 12 months.
    As a reference on this Website,
    please go to the Business Plans tab under the Publications tab
    Please go to the bottom of the page and download the White Paper
    Startup Presentations To Angel/Seed Stage Investors and Partners: Recommendations for Best Practices, a White Paper by John Gale
    It can also be downloaded from the Angel Capital Association at this page.
    Please note the 15 Silicon Valley startup community players listed for the Editorial Review Board on the front cover.
    Please go to the Mission section on Page 15.
  • Develop a detailed graphic representation of your Mission Statement Confirm your key corporate objectives for the next 12 months.
  • Develop another graphic for these. Extend this graphic to include the key supporting tasks
  • Then group the tasks by functional roles (job titles)Chart the above tasks against required experience and skill sets for each job title Create departments with defined objectives and sets of job titles
    Group the departments into groups managed by CEO COO CMO CTO CFO etc. In a more advanced startup there may be intermediate group levels.  Map the experience and skill sets against these officers you have defined (may not have all onboard)
  • Review for anomalies
  • Develop a list of experience and skill sets for each employee in your startup.
  • Map these against the above requirements
  • Confirm that the officer employees are a good fit and work on fitting the other employees to available roles
  • Now reconsider any anomalies centered on corporate and unit objectives.At each level are experience skill sets and objectives aligned?
  • Is our task of refocusing the mission statement and aligning it with staff complete?


You should now feel much more comfortable as to your level of corporate focus and staff alignment. Reevaluate the above when you go through your next annual planning cycle that is at least several months away.

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