Its the mission A dose of mission statement reality

November 20, 2011
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Can you recite your mission statement? My bet is you can’t. Mission statements are prominently displayed on most websites and within company literature, but rarely used by the people for whom they were designed.

Want a dose of mission statement reality? Here are 12.5 questions designed to make you think, squirm and reassess your mission and its meaning:

1. Who created your mission statement?

2. What does it mean to you?

3. Do you have it memorized?

4. Do you use it as a guiding light?

5. Do you have it up on the wall in your office?

6. Do you have it on a card in your wallet?

7. Is it your computer wallpaper?

8. Does it in any way affect your corporate behavior?

9. How do your customers benefit from it?

10. Does it inspire you?

11. Does it motivate you to make more sales?

12. Do any of your customers know your mission?

12.5 Or is it just a bunch of B.S. that your marketing people — or worse, your ad agency — created?

Most mission statements are created for PR purposes, purported image, or some other form of business pomposity. Totally bogus.

If the mission statement is so important and so genuine, why doesn’t every employee commit it to memory and execute it every day at work?

Pretty sad, huh?

It’s formally called “a mission statement,” but the reality is, it’s the mission — your mission! Is that how you treat it? Do you walk into a sales call thinking, “I gotta carry out the mission?”

Have you ever given a second thought to your mission statement? Or is it just some empty, full-of-crap pablum drawn up by people who have no concept of reality, let alone sales, let alone your mission.

I’d like to have the money that giant corporations pay outside people to “create” their mission statement. Better yet, just give me 10 dollars for every CEO who can’t recite it.

Well, all of that got me thinking about the real mission, and I realized that there are several missions needed for every company. One mission doesn’t fit all.

When I started to list the mission statements needed, it became apparent that these “missions,” if written by the people responsible for their execution, could change the culture of any company for the better.

Here are the missions I came up with:

  • Company vision: It’s easier to make missions if you have a clear (big picture) vision. Start there. What are you seeking to achieve? Not to be the No. 1 blah, blah, but rather, how will you help, who will benefit and what will their outcome be? Vision should be two paragraphs: one about people and one about business.

  • Company mission: Words about how you will act, the quality you purvey, the fairness you’ll set an example for, the value of what you’ll provide, the loyalty you’ll seek to earn, the honesty you’ll speak and the integrity you’ll display.

  • Sales mission: Your sales mission is your REAL mission. Without it, salespeople will wander into a sales call without a purpose other than “trying to make a sale.” My sales mission: Get the customer to buy from me based on value and relationship, and make the experience so memorable that they buy again and tell other people how great I am. What’s your sales mission statement? How does it resonate with your salespeople?

  • Customer mission: What do you want your customers to say about you? How do you want them to view your quality, value, ethics, service, friendliness, ease-of-doing-business, fairness and speed of response? All of those elements should be addressed in your customer mission statement.

  • Employee mission: Not a “policy,” rather a statement of how you will treat people, communicate with people, train and educate everyone, provide opportunities to succeed, provide a workplace atmosphere to succeed, and be truthful with your people. This statement puts your business philosophy for all to see, and sets the tone of your environment and the expectation of your people to serve and be memorable.

  • Vendor mission: Your business couldn’t operate without your suppliers. How are you ensuring that you will thrive without squeezing and choking the profit out of them? How are you partnering with them to grow sales? How will they feel about doing business with you?

  • Profit mission: What are your profit motives? How will you invest your profits to grow people and business? How will you earn your profit? What actions are all employees to take to ensure maximum profit without sacrificing ethics?

  • Community mission: What is your local commitment to involve yourself and your company? What are you volunteering for? How are you helping? What outcome are you hoping for? How will the community win?

MAJOR CLUE: Make the mission statement congruent with the mission. How congruent is your mission statement?

MAJOR CLUE: Missions are easiest to create by the people who execute them. Who’s creating yours? Who is executing yours?

Maybe it’s time to revise your mission. Just a thought.

Jeffrey Gitomer’s website has information about training and seminars, or e-mail him personally at salesman@gitomer.com

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