There is no set or predetermined time when it is appropriate for the leaders of an organization to change a mission statement. To an extent, the old adage “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” applies to an organization that remains vital and productive. It is only when leadership senses that situation is changing that it is ideal to review and revise an organizational mission statement. Certainly, it should be reviewed on a regular basis to ensure that it is still relevant and represents the direction in which events or developments have moved the organization over time. Changing it, however, is solely a product of a determination that the existing statement is obsolete or approaching obsolescence.
Organizations can and do evolve over time. Businesses routinely seek out new markets and reassess their viability in the existing competitive environment. Government agencies revise mission statements to reflect changes in the political environment resulting from a change in political leadership, and nongovernmental organizations revise their statements in accordance with expansions or contractions in envisioned activities. If an organization’s leadership has determined that a revitalization or transformation is warranted for any number of reasons, then it is time to change the mission statement.