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Your Mission Statement: How to Bring It Alive

May 22, 2007 | Comments: 0 | Views: 162

"We do chicken right!" was how Col. Harland Sanders, founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken, described his product to potential customers and reminded his employees of their obligations to produce a quality product.

In today's terms, it could be called a mission statement. While it did not include the overly used terms we hear so often now of "world class", "premiere", and other superlatives that have become meaningless, it was clear what it meant to him, his employees, and the millions of customers served.

"Good for Col. Sanders" you think, "but how does that help me with my small business? I want a mission statement that will mean something to my organization as it grows. I don't want to put up some meaningless phrase that sounds good but means nothing! How do I bring it alive?"

That's what we will go into here - how to bring a mission statement alive so it has meaning to the clients and to the line staff who do most of the work in any organization. To make our case, and build upon "We do chicken right", let's go back to the time of Col. Sanders before there was FedEx, UPS, DHL, and their kind.

We will assume we are the founders of a small package delivery business that (we hope) will build a reputation on reliable, on-time delivery anywhere in the continental United States. We are not claiming overnight service (remember, this is back in the 1950s) but it will get there by the time we promise or we reduce the charge by 50%.

After much deliberation and brainstorming, we come up with our mission statement: "Any state, never late, or half the rate."

Here is how the various segments of our fictional company (in no particular order) can use the mission statement to develop a strategy for their part of the organization and identify the tactical elements necessary to bring it alive.

Marketing - Before we can develop a marketing plan, we will have to work closely with operations to learn where our market really is. Will they have the capacity to cover every state in the union (Alaska and Hawaii did not join until 1959) when we begin or will it be limited to a geographical region initially? If we will be limited, we must make sure we define that in the marketing so we do not create unintentional bad relations with the public.Also, will we cover only business customers or the general public, too? Are there size and content limits on what we will carry? How do we educate the customers on that? How will we determine a pricing structure? Will we offer any discounts? What will our logo look like? What about our ad campaign? Operations/Fleet - What kind of vehicles will we need to meet that mission statement? How many? What about maintenance required to keep enough on-line so we do not have to give 50% reductions in fees ("Never late or half the rate"). Our selection of service vendors must be driven by the mission statement so we focus not on price but on those who can keep our fleet on the road. What kind of wrecker service/towing relationships do we need to establish in case a vehicle has an accident or a breakdown? How will we keep in touch with our drivers? Operations/Scheduling - How will we build a schedule structure so we have a reasonable chance to get the package to the destination at the quoted price, on time, so we do not have to refund half the fees? How will we design our transportation system: use a 'hub' concept or just focus on major cities? How will we get it delivered once we get to the major cities? Will we do it or are we looking for affiliates? Operations/Affiliates - How do we select affiliated carriers we can work with throughout our market so we do not have to duplicate their existing services but instead capitalize on them? How do we determine which ones we want to work with that will support our mission statement? What portion of the penalty do they absorb if they are late? How will we track the packages? How will we prove we got it to the destination on time and 'never late'? Purchasing/Accounting - How do we streamline our purchasing process so that vendors for services and supplies get paid fast enough that they do not withhold goods and services? What kind of purchasing relations can we establish to get priorities in the essential materials necessary to meet our deadlines for delivery? Will we need any special relationships with banks to make sure our cash flows easily? Training - What training must we have to develop leaders and employees who are willing and capable of making a decision that may not be covered in our manuals? If there are no specific directions for a given situation, how do we get them to ask, "Which decision should I make that helps us get closer to 'on time, any state, or half the rate'? What kind of a culture must we create where people are motivated to serve our mission statement? How do we develop that kind of a culture? Human Resources - How do we recruit and retain employees willing and able to support our time-sensitive purpose? What kind of performance assessment processes must we have that encourage employee development so they will look for ways to improve our processes and reduce inefficiencies?

We could go on indefinitely but I think the point has been made. If the least among your work force does not understand the purpose of your organization and their part in it (after all, they are the people doing most of the actual work), it will be difficult for you to "do chicken right!"

Richard ("Dick") Grimes has used his 30+ years experience in training and operations management for private and public organizations as a foundation for his company, Outsource LLC.

Human Resource professionals can earn pre-approved, re-certification training hours by visiting his website, If they send an email to him after taking a course with the word "Ezine" in the subject line, they'll get a $25 REBATE on the course.

Source: EzineArticles
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