The Benefits of a Clear, Compelling Mission (Part 2)

Once you have a mission that you believe in, you can use it to make every decision in your business. What kind of marketing should we do? What should our uniforms look like? What kind of equipment should we use? In the book Onward, Howard Shultz shares that when Starbucks got off-track, the espresso machines that were chosen to cut expenses actually killed part of the experience—the aroma!

You can be tempted to do things that keep you from accomplishing your mission because you are trying to save money or you’re growing so fast that you lose sight of what got you there in the first place. That’s what happened to Starbucks.

In the book Onward—How Starbucks Fought for Its Life without Losing Its Soul, Howard Shultz shares how they regained their brand after losing their way. It’s a powerful story about the importance of mission and brand.

When you have a mission that is understood, you can “check” every deci- sion that is made. A clear mission helps you “rally the troops” and gives you a context for coaching. When an employee doesn’t follow procedure, you can simply tie the correct behavior to the “why” behind the procedure—which is the mission.

Instead of your employees thinking you’re mad at them or you don’t like them or whatever emotional issue they have, they understand that it’s about the mission. They understand that the mission is best for the client. Speaking of clients, be sure to communicate your mission to your prospects, custom- ers, and clients, as well. At our company, our UEPTM (Unique Experience Proposition) is our mission statement. This is what the client is buying and this is what my staff provides.

What a thing of beauty!

The mission is the very first component in building systems because we must know what it is that we are trying to accomplish each day. While you are getting your procedures in place, your team needs to know what the mis- sion is so they can make the right decisions. You also need your mission in place so you can create the right procedures.

As mentioned previously, you may have heard people use the words “vision” and “mission” interchangeably. The difference between vision and mission, by the way (in my mind’s eye), is this:

Mission is what your business is trying to do each day. In other words, every time we pick up the phone, it communicates “the most out- standing service experience ever”—or it doesn’t. Simple as that.

Vision is what you want your business to look like. In other words, your vision is what you get when you reach your goals. We want to do X number of dollars in business, X number of clients, X dollars in profit, etc. We want to have X number of trucks, staff, etc.

Finally, your mission is supported by your values or what Starbucks calls “guiding principles.” These values help us live out our mission each day. My company has five values that we live by and that we communicate to our clients.

If we live out the values, we accomplish the mission. Simple as that.

To create your own mission statement, think about what you want the client to receive. What do you want them to feel? Put together a simple but meaningful sentence and begin to communicate it to your staff. Post it on your materials, your walls, and every place it can be visible to remind you, your staff, and your clients what you are actually selling.