How’s Your Home Performance Company’s Mission Statement?

A mission statement is more than just a few words on a pamphlet. Done right, it can motivate employees to do better work, inspire potential customers to sign up for your services, disseminate useful information and build your brand in a strong, tangible way.

A recent article in the Harvard Business Review discusses the concept of the mission statement at length, giving some great, concrete examples of those mission statements that inspire employees, and those that fall flat.

Examples of Strong Mission Statements:

A couple of the good ones:

Starbucks Coffee: "Our mission: to inspire and nurture the human spirit — one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time."

Patagonia "Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.."

Inspiring, right? The kind of statements that would make you want to work for, buy from, or be associated in any way with one of these companies.

An Example of a Weak Mission Statement:

Now, how about this one:

Dean Foods Company: "The Company's primary objective is to maximize long-term stockholder value, while adhering to the laws of the jurisdictions in which it operates and at all times observing the highest ethical standards."

Not so much, right?

Mission Statements in Home Performance:

We believe that in an industry as mission-driven as Home Performance, a company’s mission statement provides a huge opportunity to convey the goals, objectives, and message, not just of your company, but of the industry as a whole. This is a good thing: an inspirational mission statement from a company in Kansas could be seen by a homeowner in Oregon and be inspired to hire another home performance company out there. But it also provides you with a unique opportunity to reveal what drives you, and differentiates your business from others in the industry. Energy security? Health and safety? A good old fashioned passion for buildings? All equally noble, all equally compelling.

A few good mission statements that we’ve seen in the industry:

Stitt Energy Systems, Inc. exists "to provide energy efficient homes that are environmentally responsible for the health, welfare, and happiness of our customers, employees, investors and future generations."

Home Performance Matters is "Leading the race to Net-Zero Energy through custom energy efficiency and solar solutions."

Orange Energy Solutions' mission is to "protect your family and your single most important investment -- your home."

Evergreen Home Performance has a three-part mission: "We believe that homes should be safe, comfortable, and healthy... We believe in improving our environment, one house at a time... We believe that providing good, sustainable jobs for our employees benefits everyone."

How about you, does your company have a well-crafted mission statement that you use to bring on new customers and inspire employees? We'd love to hear about it!


This is all well and good - but I question the validity of any mission statement. I see them as, what I like to call, Hallmark Card sayings; cute, sometimes moving, but not from the heart. From the heart, is the homemade card by the 5-year old that brings tears to your eyes. It's the real thing and no mistaking it, either. Every time.

The way big, business can emulate that is to DO what the mission statement says, and forget about the statement itself. That is to say, provide "Wow" in your customer service, go the extra mile, be ethical (always, always, always), be sensible and care. That will trump mission statements every time.
Also ..... when's the last time you bought something based on the mission statement? Yep. Never. When's the last time you worked for a company that lived up to it's mission statement? Not good, eh? (I'm not sayin' it doesn't happen, but .....)
Starbucks is a great example: Nice statement that ECP posted -- but if you look up Starbucks and complaints .... it's a long list. Very long. They are far from the most ethical company out there. Far, far, far. And they stomp on competition without remorse or giving any quarter. We saw that in Portland, Maine for pities sake. And they drain peoples wallets like there's no tomorrow. (And they do good things too, I know that.)
So spend time on a mission statement if you're so inclined. Me? I'd rather be providing some exceptional customer service that becomes the talk of the town. You can too.

My company (a design firm specializing in sustainable residential architecture) is currently building a new website and I have written a number of mission statements that strive to convey all that we do. These efforts always fall short because they are lengthy, detailed narratives that bore even me. So, I think I agree more with ECP's post than Dick Fon's thoughtful response for the reason that brevity and something inspirational (especially if true, of course) would be more likely to achieve my objective of motivating my potential client to consider pursuing my firm's style of design process.

Peter Troast's picture

Dirk and Harry--all good comments. My view is that a short, pointed and meaningful statement of some kind can be very unifying for companies. Honestly, I don't care if it's a mission statement, a positioning statement, a brand strategy or some other form. Whatever works for the particular company culture. Really good ones become a touchstone for decisions that companies make routinely. But, obviously, only if they're good. Perhaps that's the threshold question of whether your _____ statement has teeth: does it provide guidance on whether you should enter a new business, or add a service or measure employee performance or...... 

For sure, pablum mission statements very often turn out be be the proverbial camel--a horse designed by a committee. 

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