How to Write North Star Statements: Our Top Tips and Tricks

How to Write North Star Statements: Our Top Tips and Tricks

November 10, 2022
12:56 pm

Purpose, vision, mission, and values statements - what we collectively call North Star statements - are important foundations that organizations use to guide strategy and decision-making. Going through the process of creating and updating these statements ensures employees and customers understand organizational values, objectives, and future goals. The following tips can help you create clear, meaningful, and living North Star statements to help set organizational priorities and engage staff working toward a common goal.

250 Free North Star Examples

Download our free eBook with 250 purpose, mission, vision, and values statement examples below:

1. Create a “Mars Group”

Purpose, vision, mission, and values statements cannot be created by just one person alone; it is a team exercise. Identify members of a Mars Group who can help undertake this task. Think of a Mars Group as a group that could recolonize the organization on another planet. They know the organization’s goals and live out its core values. The Mars Group may include the C-suite, experienced staff, or even new team members whose collective perspectives shape a clear vision of the future.

2. Identify an Objective Facilitator

Creating North Star Statements is a collaborative process that usually takes place over 4-6 working sessions on average. It can be helpful to invite an objective facilitator who can guide and structure these sessions to make them more productive. A skilled moderator will ensure that group members are fully engaged, interrogate assumptions, mitigate conflict, and focus the creative efforts effectively toward their desired outcome, without influencing the final content.

3. Review the Research

To get started, there is no reason to start from a blank page. Clarify the definitions of purpose, mission, vision, and values statements. Make sure the Mars Group understands their function, their commonalities and their differences. Then, have the team members review a few of the North Star statements from other similar organizations. Ask team members to reflect on what they like and don’t like, what makes some statements standout, and what makes others forgetful. For examples, check out our article on how to write North Star statements which includes a collection of 250 exemplary North Star statements to help with this part of the process.

250 Free North Star Examples

Download our free eBook with 250 purpose, mission, vision, and values statement examples below:

4. Start with Organizational Values

While there is no absolute, correct order in which to draft North Star statements, in our experience, it is often easiest to start with core values. Values are generally simpler for people to identify and define since everyone is already experiencing them in the organization’s day-to-day activities. Starting with something simple also gets the conversation flowing.

What are core values? Core values reflect the behaviors and principles that guide your organization’s operations. They shape daily culture and establish standards of conduct against which actions and decisions can be assessed.

Tips for writing values statements:

  • Have the Mar’s Group ideate a list of existing values and aspirational values.
  • Send a survey to the organization asking them to provide a list of selected words that characterize existing values shaping the culture of the organization. Also, ask them to add any new values that should be considered. Survey results will help the Mars Group prioritize elements of the values while building buy-in across the organization through participation.
  • Narrow down your values, keeping them to around 4-6. Too many values will result in diminishing returns and make it harder for stakeholders to discern what is most important.
  • Keep in mind most values should already exist and be dominant in the organization's culture. It is okay, even good sometimes, to have one or two values that an organization aspires to develop. However, if all the values are aspirational, or contrary to their daily, lived experiences, there is risk of people adopting a cynical view or even rejecting efforts to implement the new values.

5. Purpose, Vision, and Mission…

It can be easy to start with organizational core values, but starting with purpose, vision and/or mission is completely acceptable if that is more appropriate for your team.  We have worked with many organizations to help craft their North Star statements, and the following tips can help maximize success and avoid common pitfalls.

  • Start with your customers. Keep those served at top of mind. Define what success looks like for them in your context. Then think about what it means to succeed as an organization while also providing value and building loyalty.
  • Look back through historical documents to see if prior North Star statements exist or at least if there is an aspirational concept behind the creation of the organization. These “childhood formation experiences” at the beginning of an organization leave an indelible mark on the organization and can be seen/felt many years later.  Instead of creating new North Star statements, it can be easier to simply rediscover or reenergize classic organizational legends and aspirations. If possible, speak with employees and stakeholders who witnessed the early stages of the organization to gain context behind the founding hopes.
  • Split up into small groups and ask each other to share a time when they felt their organization was really living in alignment with its North Star statements. Group members should ask questions to help bring the stories to life. Select especially powerful stories to be told to the whole team. Common themes begin to emerge from the stories, bringing into focus the who, what, how and why.
  • Keep statements succinct. Bâton Global has reviewed thousands of North Star statements and we’ve observed that shorter statements frequently have more impact. For external audiences, they are able to understand and act on that information more quickly. For internal audiences, shorter statements are easier to internalize and leverage in day-to-day decision making.
Purpose Vision Mission Values

6. Put It All Together

Once the individual draft statements are complete, the Mars Group should look at them side-by-side and make sure the statements fit together as they should to create a cohesive set. Some additional wordsmithing may be required, but it should become apparent they work together best to create the complete strategic foundation.

7. Gather Feedback

After the “Mars Group” has selected the recommended set of statements, test them out (together) with your internal stakeholders via a focus group or survey.  You will learn which elements of these statements resonate with your audience and which fall flat. This also serves as an opportunity to identify any gaps or even learn about new ideas to incorporate in your statements based on emerging trends. Not only will you enhance your North Star statements, but you’ll also create additional buy-in from your employees and confirm you value their thoughts and ideas.

Best Practices Video
Bâton Global's Matthew Mitchell, PhD reviews these tips and tricks in more detail to help your organization craft statements that inspire, motivate, and align towards growth and prosperity:

8. Publish, Promote, Persist

Once you’ve finalized your purpose, mission, vision, and values statements, you’ve got to remember the three Ps:  Publish, Promote and Persist.

  • Publish: Publish your North Star statements on internal communications, your company website, company literature and new-hire orientation guides. Using multiple forms of media helps spread the message.
  • Promote:  Promote these statements through leader & manager communications. Leaders need to have an elevator speech handy where they can communicate their North Star statements in a clear, brief way whether at a team meeting or walking through a parking lot.
  • Persist:  Live these statements every single day. Share success stories on your website. Consider giving some sort of recognition to those whose behavior embodies the values of the organization to reinforce their importance.

Successful purpose, vision, mission, and values statements inspire individuals, motivate teams, and align the entire organization to act in in accordance with their highest goals and aspirations. If everyone is pulling in the same direction, good North Star statements will improve efficiency and agility, enabling organizations to adapt, grow, and thrive.

These introductory tips and tricks are helpful, but if you have additional specific or advanced questions please feel free to call or email our Bâton team anytime (+1.234.BGlobal or

250 Free North Star Examples

Download our free eBook with 250 purpose, mission, vision, and values statement examples below:

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November 10, 2022
12:56 pm
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