Remissioning: Understanding, Implementing, and Succeeding with Organizational Change



In today’s rapidly evolving business landscape, organizations must adapt to remain competitive and relevant. One crucial aspect of adaptation is “remissioning,” a concept that involves redefining an organization’s mission to align with new goals, market conditions, or technological advancements. This article provides an in-depth exploration of remissioning, covering its definition, importance, implementation strategies, challenges, and case studies. By understanding and effectively managing remissioning, organizations can ensure long-term success and sustainability.

Understanding Remissioning

Definition and Scope

Remissioning refers to the process of revisiting and redefining an organization’s mission statement to better align with current realities and future aspirations. It involves evaluating the organization’s purpose, values, and strategic objectives to ensure they remain relevant and impactful. Unlike minor adjustments or updates, remissioning often signifies a fundamental shift in direction or focus.

Historical Context

The concept of remissioning is rooted in the broader theory of organizational change and development. Historically, businesses have undergone various forms of transformation to adapt to changing environments, from industrial revolutions to the digital age. Remissioning, however, places a specific emphasis on the mission statement as a cornerstone of strategic realignment.

Differences from Rebranding and Restructuring

While remissioning can involve elements of rebranding and restructuring, it is distinct in its focus. Rebranding typically deals with altering the visual and communicative aspects of an organization, such as logos, slogans, and marketing strategies. Restructuring involves changes to the internal configuration of an organization, such as reorganizing departments or workflows. Remissioning, on the other hand, addresses the foundational question of why an organization exists and what it aims to achieve.

The Importance of Remissioning

Alignment with Market Dynamics

Market conditions are in a constant state of flux, influenced by factors such as technological advancements, economic shifts, regulatory changes, and evolving consumer preferences. Remissioning helps organizations stay aligned with these dynamics, ensuring their mission remains relevant and resonates with stakeholders.

Enhancing Organizational Focus

A clear and relevant mission statement provides a north star for all organizational activities. It guides decision-making, prioritizes initiatives, and fosters a sense of purpose among employees. By revisiting and refining their mission, organizations can enhance their focus and ensure all efforts are directed towards achieving common goals.

Driving Innovation and Growth

Remissioning can stimulate innovation by encouraging organizations to explore new opportunities and rethink existing paradigms. By redefining their mission, organizations can uncover new markets, develop innovative products or services, and pursue growth strategies that were previously overlooked.

Strengthening Stakeholder Relationships

A well-articulated mission statement communicates an organization’s values and intentions to its stakeholders, including customers, employees, investors, and partners. Remissioning ensures that these relationships are built on a shared understanding of the organization’s purpose and direction, fostering trust and loyalty.

Implementing Remissioning: A Step-by-Step Guide

Step 1: Assess the Current Mission

The first step in the remissioning process is to assess the current mission statement. This involves evaluating its relevance, clarity, and alignment with the organization’s current operations and strategic objectives. Stakeholder feedback, market analysis, and internal audits can provide valuable insights into the effectiveness of the existing mission.

Step 2: Identify Drivers of Change

Next, identify the key drivers necessitating remissioning. These could include market trends, technological advancements, competitive pressures, regulatory changes, or shifts in consumer behavior. Understanding these drivers helps to contextualize the need for change and informs the direction of the new mission.

Step 3: Engage Stakeholders

Engaging stakeholders is crucial for a successful remissioning process. This includes employees, customers, investors, and other relevant parties. Conducting workshops, surveys, and interviews can gather diverse perspectives and foster a sense of ownership and commitment to the new mission.

Step 4: Define the New Mission

With input from stakeholders and a clear understanding of the drivers of change, define the new mission statement. It should be concise, inspiring, and reflective of the organization’s core values and strategic objectives. The mission should also be forward-looking, encapsulating the organization’s vision for the future.

Step 5: Communicate the Change

Effective communication is essential to ensure that the new mission is understood and embraced by all stakeholders. Develop a comprehensive communication plan that includes internal announcements, external marketing, and stakeholder meetings. Use various channels to disseminate the new mission and explain its significance.

Step 6: Align Organizational Activities

Aligning organizational activities with the new mission involves revisiting strategies, processes, and initiatives to ensure they support the revised mission. This may require changes to business models, operational workflows, or resource allocation. Establish clear metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) to monitor progress and measure success.

Step 7: Monitor and Adjust

Remissioning is an ongoing process that requires regular monitoring and adjustment. Continuously assess the effectiveness of the new mission and its impact on organizational performance. Be prepared to make further refinements based on feedback and changing conditions.

Challenges and Solutions in Remissioning

Resistance to Change

Challenge: One of the most common challenges in remissioning is resistance to change. Employees and other stakeholders may be reluctant to embrace a new mission, fearing disruption or uncertainty.

Solution: Address resistance through clear communication, transparency, and involvement. Engage stakeholders early in the process and provide opportunities for them to voice concerns and contribute ideas. Offer training and support to help employees adapt to new ways of working.

Misalignment with Organizational Culture

Challenge: A new mission that is misaligned with the existing organizational culture can lead to confusion and conflict.

Solution: Ensure that the new mission is developed with a deep understanding of the current culture. Engage cultural champions within the organization to help bridge the gap and facilitate alignment. If necessary, implement cultural change initiatives to support the new mission.

Insufficient Resources

Challenge: Implementing a new mission may require additional resources, such as funding, technology, or talent, which may not be readily available.

Solution: Conduct a thorough resource assessment during the planning phase and identify any gaps. Develop a resource allocation plan that prioritizes critical areas. Consider phased implementation to manage resource constraints effectively.

Maintaining Momentum

Challenge: Sustaining momentum for remissioning initiatives over the long term can be challenging, especially as initial enthusiasm wanes.

Solution: Keep the momentum alive by setting short-term milestones and celebrating achievements. Regularly communicate progress and reinforce the importance of the new mission. Establish a dedicated team or task force to drive the remissioning process and ensure continued focus.

Case Studies: Successful Remissioning

Case Study 1: IBM’s Transition to a Technology and Consulting Leader

Background: IBM, originally known as a hardware and mainframe computer manufacturer, faced declining demand for its traditional products in the late 20th century.

Remissioning Process: In the early 1990s, under the leadership of CEO Lou Gerstner, IBM embarked on a remissioning journey to transform itself into a technology and consulting company. The new mission focused on providing integrated solutions and services to help businesses harness the power of technology.

Implementation: IBM restructured its business units, divested non-core assets, and invested heavily in software, services, and research. The company also rebranded itself with a new logo and marketing strategy.

Outcome: IBM successfully transitioned into a global leader in technology and consulting, with a strong focus on innovation and customer solutions. The remissioning process enabled IBM to remain relevant and competitive in the rapidly evolving technology landscape.

Case Study 2: Netflix’s Evolution from DVD Rental to Streaming Giant

Background: Netflix began as a DVD rental-by-mail service in the late 1990s. However, the rise of digital media and declining demand for physical rentals posed a significant threat to its business model.

Remissioning Process: In 2007, Netflix embarked on a remissioning journey to shift its focus from DVD rentals to online streaming. The new mission aimed to revolutionize the way people consume entertainment by providing convenient, on-demand access to a vast library of content.

Implementation: Netflix invested heavily in building its streaming infrastructure, acquiring digital rights to popular content, and developing original programming. The company also phased out its DVD rental service and rebranded itself as a streaming platform.

Outcome: Netflix’s remissioning process transformed it into a global entertainment powerhouse, with millions of subscribers and a leading position in the streaming industry. The company’s innovative approach and commitment to its new mission enabled it to disrupt traditional media and shape the future of entertainment.

Case Study 3: Patagonia’s Commitment to Environmental Sustainability

Background: Patagonia, an outdoor apparel company, was founded with a mission to produce high-quality products for outdoor enthusiasts. However, growing environmental concerns and the impact of the apparel industry prompted the company to rethink its mission.

Remissioning Process: In the early 2000s, Patagonia embarked on a remissioning journey to align its mission with environmental sustainability. The new mission focused on using business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.

Implementation: Patagonia implemented sustainable practices across its supply chain, including using recycled materials, reducing waste, and promoting fair labor practices. The company also launched environmental initiatives, such as the 1% for the Planet program, and actively engaged in environmental activism.

Outcome: Patagonia’s commitment to its new mission has not only enhanced its brand reputation but also driven business success. The company is widely recognized as a leader in sustainability and has inspired other businesses to adopt environmentally responsible practices.

Tools and Techniques for Successful Remissioning

Strategic Planning Frameworks

SWOT Analysis: Conducting a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis helps identify internal and external factors that can influence the remissioning process. This framework provides a comprehensive overview of the organization’s current position and potential areas for growth.

PEST Analysis: A PEST (Political, Economic, Social, Technological) analysis examines the macro-environmental factors that impact an organization. This analysis helps identify external drivers of change and informs strategic decisions during the remissioning process.

Balanced Scorecard: The Balanced Scorecard is a performance management tool that aligns business activities with the organization’s vision and strategy. It provides a framework for setting goals, measuring performance, and tracking progress towards the new mission.

Change Management Models

Kotter’s 8-Step Change Model: Developed by John Kotter, this model outlines eight steps for leading successful organizational change: create urgency, form a guiding coalition, develop a vision and strategy, communicate the vision, empower action, generate short-term wins, consolidate gains, and anchor new approaches.

ADKAR Model: The ADKAR (Awareness, Desire, Knowledge, Ability, Reinforcement) model focuses on the individual aspects of change. It provides a framework for managing personal transitions and ensuring that employees are engaged and equipped to support the new mission.

Communication Tools

Internal Communication Platforms: Tools such as Slack, Microsoft Teams, and intranet systems facilitate effective communication within the organization. These platforms enable real-time updates, collaboration, and feedback during the remissioning process.

Town Hall Meetings: Regular town hall meetings provide an opportunity for leadership to communicate the new mission, address concerns, and gather feedback from employees. These meetings foster transparency and build trust.

Surveys and Feedback Mechanisms: Conducting surveys and using feedback tools, such as SurveyMonkey or Google Forms, helps gather insights from stakeholders. This feedback is valuable for refining the new mission and addressing any issues.

The Future of Remissioning

Embracing Digital Transformation

As technology continues to advance, digital transformation will play a critical role in remissioning efforts. Organizations must leverage digital tools and platforms to enhance their mission, streamline operations, and engage with stakeholders in innovative ways.

Fostering a Culture of Continuous Improvement

To remain competitive, organizations must foster a culture of continuous improvement. This involves regularly assessing the relevance of the mission, staying attuned to market dynamics, and being willing to adapt. A commitment to ongoing learning and innovation will be essential for long-term success.

Integrating Sustainability and Social Responsibility

Sustainability and social responsibility are increasingly important considerations for organizations. Integrating these principles into the mission can enhance brand reputation, attract customers, and drive business success. Remissioning efforts should prioritize environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors to create a positive impact.

Leveraging Data and Analytics

Data and analytics will be vital for informing remissioning efforts. By leveraging data-driven insights, organizations can make informed decisions, track progress, and measure the impact of the new mission. Advanced analytics tools and techniques will enable organizations to identify trends, optimize strategies, and drive continuous improvement.


Remissioning is a powerful tool for organizational adaptation and success. By redefining the mission to align with current realities and future aspirations, organizations can enhance their focus, drive innovation, and build strong stakeholder relationships. The process of remissioning requires careful planning, effective communication, and a commitment to continuous improvement. By embracing these principles and leveraging the right tools and techniques, organizations can navigate the complexities of change and achieve their strategic goals. Whether facing market disruptions, technological advancements, or evolving customer expectations, remissioning provides a roadmap for sustainable growth and long-term success.

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