Is Your Mission Statement Damaging Your Organization?

Across reception areas and hallways throughout the MENA region, organizations proudly display their mission statements illuminating their identity and purpose. These guiding principles are considered central to the essence of the organization, especially for employees and the market. Often derived from corporate strategy, these statements are seen as the uniting banner that seeks to ferment a strong culture and drive performance.

However, such proclamations could be doing your organization more harm than good. According to Deloitte’s Core beliefs and culture survey, there is “a disconnect between organizations simply talking about their culture and those that are embedding their beliefs into their operations.” The biggest challenge here is that this creates a major disruption between leadership and the rest of the organization. Thus, organizations are left with employees feeling their roles don’t matter with the latter simply not subscribing to the fundamental mission of the organization.

When organizations are able to create the ‘role-mission’ connection, the result is a boost, not just to morale but to performance as well. Research indicates that performance increases and operating costs decrease. It is no secret that the cost of hiring an expatriate worker within the MENA region is sizable. Organizations are additionally having to tackle the challenge associated with attracting and retaining millennials, typically nationals, throughout the region. Regardless of how effective your hiring or Nationalization strategy is, employees who feel a connection with the heartbeat of their employer are more likely to serve longer tenure, and at peak performance.


1. Purpose — the reason
2. Core Values — the beliefs that solidify the organization and its employe
3. Future Goal — this needs to be aspirational and forward thinking
4. Articulation — a statement that captures your intent, seeking to extract commitment

In the digitized age of social media, if an organization’s mission statement is framed as a grandiose marketing stunt designed to outshine the competition, major risks emerge. Such an approach to building a culture is damaging organizations across the MENA region and beyond — especially when organizations are unable to live up to such lofty expectations.

An organization’s mission is not just a decorative plaque on the wall, but an active, living, breathing statement of intent that contributes to every resource and effort. It is a guiding mantra by which decisions are made and strategies executed. Employees must be able to internalize and make sense of how their day-to-day roles connect with the broader strategy of the organization. This symbiotic relationship between creates an emotionally binding connection between the employee and employer. It inspires all stakeholders and creates a collective culture that can withstand the most hazardous challenges.

In an ever-volatile and uncertain world, being able to express and live by what your organization actually stands for is often overlooked. Recent research reveals that one in every four customer-facing employees are unclear on what their company stands for or what differentiates them in the market. This results in unnecessary damage to an organization’s financial and strategic standing, let alone to their employee value proposition.

However, the unique situation of family businesses and a highly-digitized government services agenda, represents an opportunity for MENA organizations to be better prepared facing this challenge. For example, long-existing family businesses in the GCC have been able to use the historic value provided by their brand proposition coupled with their role in the nation-building process. Their reputation and prestige provide the foundation for a meaningful and tangible mission that best suits what the organization stands for.

As MENA organizations look to expand their footprint internationally orenhance their service offerings locally; they need to create, enshrine, and live by their mission. This is especially important when you consider the inherent risks associated with expansion such service variance or the high-stakes exposure to social media. Organizations that are able to accomplish this will enhance how their employees connect with the spirit of their company, improving how these employees relay its mission to the customer and market.