While this may sound like blasphemy to companies who organize internal teams to come up with their company’s mission, and to the CEO who is told good leaders define and share their vision, I’ll ask a simple question:  once a vision or mission statement is clearly articulated,how many companies enforce and revisit the goals of each?  I have asked hundreds of senior executives this question, and most say they rarely revisit it once it is posted on their website.  My apologies to you if you are in that minority who do a solid follow through with yours.

If you want to challenge the premise, pick any five to ten websites and look at their mission and vision statements.  Most are really a description of what they do or hope to do.  Very few are specific and relevant to customer needs.

Some companies spend big bucks to hire outside consultants who help distill cultural beliefs into a vision.   Sometimes the mission and/or vision is about growth goals over a specified period or a cliché about (a) serving customer’s needs; and/or (2) staying environmentally friendly; and/or (3) creating lasting partnerships; and/or (4) building relationships; and/or (5) serving the community, and so on, and so on.

While all are admirable, they are rarely unique and almost never have an actual impact on closing more sales at higher margins, or even on how companies are operated.  Most mission statements are so vague, they might be transferable to any other business’s website.

We live in different times.  People have limited attention spans and invest no time to read and digest clichés.  Or interest in doing so.

A company who invests resources into a mission and vision that is most valued by their customers, garnered from solid evidence of customer’s needs, and not from their own internal projection, will win out over the company who huddles to form the hackneyed mission statement every time.  Once a company knows what their customers “must have,” and then holds their internal teams accountable with solid metric tracking, they will be able to build confidence and reduce risk in their customer’s buying decision.

For example, one client company learned that being on time and having first time performance for their product was paramount to their buyers needs.  They then created a mission and vision related to their organization’s focus internally and externally on measuring and delivery of those things. They built a culture around those two key factors.

Unfortunately, 85% of companies do not measure what their customers value most.  This means the goals of a mission and vision statements often don’t include the most fundamental element. Does your mission/vision focus on relevant results? Does it ensure you will be able to have a solid sales message based on operational soundness that delivers what your customer values most of all?  Our new normal requires a different focus;  results for the customer matter most of all in today’s competitive world.

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