What Does Your Company Do? What Core Vision Drives Your Business? What is Your Elevator Pitch? These may sound like elementary questions but surprisingly the answers to these essential questions oftentimes do not match the Mission Statement, Core Values or Stated Objectives of many organizations.
Take the Test
Without referring to your company's website or literature, answer these questions:
Take it a Step Further...
Now ask the same questions impromptu in a managers meeting. Then... ask the same questions in an all-staff meeting. You may be very surprised at the responses... but the insight will prove invaluable.
Think about it. If a good percentage of your employees can't answer the fundamental questions posed above, how can management honestly expect to deliver on the company's core objectives and values?
What Exactly is a Mission Statement?
Mission Statement's have been described as a summary of the overall plan of the organization including objectives and values; the definition for the existence of a company; or, the company's vision translated into written form. "We make jet engines", "we exist to be the best", or "we provide excellent service" won't cut it.
Who Are You?
From an organizational standpoint, you need to be able to answer this question: Who are you? Take a look at some of the power players:
Google: is the world's largest search engine.
Starbucks: is the leading retailer, roaster and brand of specialty coffee in the world.
Microsoft: is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions.
Walt Disney Company: is the world's leading producer and supplier of premier family entertainment.
Xerox: is the world's leading document management technology and services enterprise.
What Do You Do?
Now, answer the subsequent question: What do you do? This is your mission--your purpose, the reason you exist. If you polled your employees by asking them to fill in this blank: "We exist to _____", the answers would likely be varied. The point is--there is no variance in a Mission Statement. It needs to be clear, concise and accurate on paper, and in reality. Again, take a look at some of the world's most successful companies:
Google: to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful (by pursuing innovation and pushing the limits of existing technology to provide the fastest, most accurate and easy-to-use search service that can be accessed from anywhere).
Starbucks: to be the premier purveyor of the finest coffee in the world (by serving the perfect cup of coffee and creating an unparalleled customer and community experience through inspiration and nurture of the human spirit).
Microsoft: to help people and businesses throughout the world to realize their full potential (by providing software, services and solutions and delivering technology innovations).
Walt Disney Company: to be the world's leading producer and provider of family entertainment and information (by developing the most creative, innovative and profitable entertainment experiences and related products, for all ages, around the world.)
Xerox: to help people find better ways to do great work (by constantly leading in document technologies, products and services that improve customer work processes and business results).
If your company's actions, attitudes and methods do not match your stated objectives and meet the expectations of your customers and stakeholders, it's time to do some course correcting.
It is healthy to revisit your organization's purpose by periodically reviewing its Mission Statement, Core Values and Stated Objectives. And remember, this is not just an exercise for the top tier executives. Adherence and reinforcement will reflect inside and outside of your business. They are foundational to the entire organization and will trickle down effecting and driving (for better or worse) everything that your company touches.
Elevator... Going up?