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!