March 31, 2008

Mission Possible

If a “vision statement” describes where you see yourself (or your company) in the future – one year, five years, ten years – then a “mission statement” should be a description of how you’re going to get there.

I like to think of it this way; The "vision” is where you want to go on vacation. You should also have some answers to “why” you even want to go to that place to begin with. Great beach, excellent restaurants, grandparents will let you stay for free.

Determining a motivation for wanting something is a good place to begin. Motivation can be defined as “an inducement or incentive” so identifying what this particular incentive might be could be your first step. Is it profit? Personal recognition? Making a difference in someones life? Leaving an imprint on society?

Now that we have figured out a destination – in Realogy's case, “to be the preferred gateway for exceptional real estate experiences,” it’s time to establish how we’re going to do it.

How will we make that proverbial trip? Will we drive, fly, walk, ride a bike? Will we travel with friends, family, alone?

Mission statements don’t have to be long soliloquies or egotistical blather. The can be succinct statements that are understandable to the reader. Here is athletic apparel giant Nike’s mission statement -

"To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world. If you have a body, you are an athlete."

Now, I’m no Tiger Woods, but that seems easy enough to understand. Employees, shareholders and certainly customers can understand what Nike’s goal is. And I really like the fact that I am included in their mission. I might not have the body of Derek Jeter or LaDanian Tomlinson, but I do have a body and I have been known to patronize the Nike empire. By the way, something tells me that the guy in the boardroom who suggested “making bazillions of dollars” as their mission statement was shot down. Although true, it just doesn't sound like a benevolent statement, does it?

Let’s look at one more from a major company in today’s society, Coca-Cola.

Everything we do is inspired by our enduring Mission:
· To Refresh the body, mind, and spirit.
· To Inspire Moments of Optimism...through our brands and our actions.
· To Create Value and Make a Difference...everywhere we engage.

I don’t know about you but that just makes me proud to be a loyal Diet Coke drinker. What’s that old jingle from the 70’s commercial…”I’d like to teach the world to sing, in perfect harmony…”

So, what do you do? Do you have a statement, either internal or on paper that describes what it is that you need to do on a daily basis to get where you want to be? If you don’t, you might be walking down a road to anywhere...or nowhere. Maybe your plans have changed since originally booking that "trip" and now you really want to go to the mountains instead of the beach. Are you sure you still want to go to that destination you originally planned to go to?

Let’s look at my company Mission Statement with Realogy:

Coldwell Banker West Shell is dedicated to creating exceptional real estate experiences for our customers and communities through the passionate delivery of truly remarkable service.

We pledge to promote a fun, fulfilling and respectful environment, one that is open to change and innovation, providing personal growth opportunities for all.

I really like this mission statement because I feel it boils down to three words – truly remarkable service. If I can find a way to deliver truly remarkable service each and every day to each and every person I come in contact with – prospect, client, agent, staff member, etc. – then I can further the chances that we will become "the preferred gateway for exceptional real estate experiences" that our Vision Statement would like for us to be. It speaks about what “we” must do as a company and also addresses what “I” must do as an individual. What’s the old cliché? The whole is greater than the sum of its parts?

I have a personal mission statement that I attempt to adhere to in my role as Director of Training for the Coldwell Banker companies in Columbus and Greater Cincinnati that goes like this:

“I teach with passion and enthusiasm instilling confidence and excitement in my students.”

Your personal mission statement doesn’t have to be written in stone. It could be re-written every year or as often as needed. Your “destination” may change. A good friend of mine, national speaker Bryan Dodge says it best… “If your why is big enough, you’ll figure out the how.”

I challenge you to ponder what your mission statement might be. Figure out your “why” and then it makes it easier to achieve by determining your “how.” Maybe you’ll find your destination is easier to get to than you once thought.

Need some inspiration? There is a pretty cool blog out there that lists mission statements from lots of well known companies. Check it out yourself at

Until next time...

Build relationships...solve problems...have fun!

March 17, 2008

"We Go Where Our Vision Is"

These words, spoken by Irishman Joseph Murphy, certainly ring true. Many times, where we want to go and what we focus on are not one and the same. Murphy was preaching the power of the human mind before The Secret phenomenon ever began.

Have you ever actually figured out what your vision is? Where do you see yourself in one year? Five years? Twenty years?

The ability to see your future, if only in your mind’s eye, is extremely important if you truly want to get there. For many, individuals or corporations alike, a vision statement is one way to begin to see where they’re going.

The company I work for, Realogy, has a vision statement that is pretty simple –

"To be the preferred gateway for exceptional real estate experiences."

Well, it may be simple in its wording but not simple in its execution.

"A vision without action is called a daydream; but then again, action without a vision is called a nightmare.” ~ Jim Sorenson

So how can you live up to your vision statement? We’ll explore the power of “mission statements” in our next blog but for now, just ask yourself these questions:

  • What do you need to do on a daily basis to achieve your vision?
  • What actions can you take that will lead your customers and clients to make you their “preferred gateway” for real estate and how can you ensure that their experience is “exceptional”?

Do you need to sharpen your market knowledge? Can you return all calls and emails promptly? How hard is it to dress professionally and show up time?

“Vision - It reaches beyond the thing that is, into the conception of what can be. Imagination gives you the picture. Vision gives you the impulse to make the picture your own” ~ Robert Collier

Your vision can be anything you want it to be so why not make it big, exciting and fun? Do you want to become the top agent in your office? The neighborhood expert in your marketplace? The “go to” source for all things real estate amongst your friends and family? Who says you can’t?

“You are not here merely to make a living. You are here to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, and with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world. You impoverish yourself if you forget this errand.” ~ Woodrow Wilson

I encourage you to sit down and consider your vision or that of your company. Can you fulfill the daily obligations it will require to live up to it? I think you can. You just have to believe it in your mind and in your heart. As the Dillon Panthers say on NBC’s Friday Night Lights… “Clear Eyes, full heart…can’t lose.”

Do you have a vision statement for your business? Do you believe in your company’s vision statement? Let me know what vision you have for yourself and we’ll talk about how you can get there next week.

March 4, 2008

Do You Know Where You're Going?

One day Alice came to a fork in the road and saw a Cheshire cat in a tree.
“Which road do I take?” she asked.
“Where do you want to go?” was his response.
“I don’t know,” Alice answered.
“Then,” said the cat, “it doesn’t matter which road you take.”

These words written almost 150 years ago today by the Reverend Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (pseudonym Lewis Carroll) are so true today and we have absolute control to know the answers that Alice didn't.

The real estate world has experienced some treacherous twists and turns these last twelve months, not unlike Alice's journey down the rabbit hole. We must proceed into 2008 with cautious optimism that, like Alice, the strange occurrences and happenings of late will soon be behind us.

As we conclude the first quarter of the year, ask yourself these questions:
  • Are you on pace to achieve the goals you set in your 2008 Business Plan?

  • Are you allowing yourself to be influenced by the media and naysayers who only see the negative aspects of today's real estate landscape? Remember, Alice's problems began when she drank a mysterious bottle with the label saying "Drink Me." Don't allow yourself to drink the "negative juices."

  • Do you face each day with a list of specific activities that will help you move closer to your personal and business goals?

  • Have you taken advantage of the tools, systems and support available to you to achieve the levels of success you aspire to?

In the next blog in The Realtor's Toolbox we'll begin to study the Vision, Mission and Business Principles we strive to achieve as members of the Realogy family. How do these "directions" compare to those of your "company"?

Remember what Yogi Berra said...“If you don't know where you're going, you'll probably end up someplace else."

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Let me know...How do you know where you're going?

Until next time...Build Relationships...Solve Problems...Have Fun