If you’ve ever sat down with an executive team at your office and tried to write a company mission statement, you’ll know it can be a struggle. Most businesspeople are not skilled wordsmiths and are not sure what to write. Many Fortune 500 companies actually hire a public relations firm to help craft a mission statement for them.
Wikipedia says “A mission statement is a short statement of why an organization exists and what its overall goal is. The purpose of a mission statement is to communicate the organization’s purpose and direction to its employees, customers, vendors, and other stakeholders.” My question is, how do you communicate all that in one simple paragraph or short statement?
Several years ago, a few of our team members including myself and our COO Elizabeth Gilbert, sat down and spent some time describing what we felt Ron Henderson & Associates was about. We put everything down on paper and then narrowed it down to a long paragraph of information and called it our mission statement. At the time we were very proud of it, but recently Elizabeth brought to my attention that our Mission/Vision statement was too long and didn’t have any real meaning.
As she read it out loud to me, I have to admit it sounded boring. I think in hindsight, we’d put together a bunch of words that sounded good, but were too vague in their meaning. They didn’t inspire us or give us any sense of direction. If someone outside the team read our mission statement, they’d probably say, “Sure, it’s good” and that’s about all they could say.
We began researching this subject again and decided to craft a new mission statement. One online expert said, “Your company’s mission should drive everything else that your business does.” I wanted it to be much shorter, ideally just one or two sentences. I wanted it to push us forward in everything we do. I didn’t want it to be boring and it needed to be memorable.
We researched many other companies’ mission statements which made me realize how truly terrible most of them are. When we started putting words down on paper, one subject seemed to keep coming up again and again. We love it when our past clients, friends, and family refer their friends to us. Those are always the very best clients for us because when they call us, there is already a small amount of built-in trust. Also, if our team works hard to take care of our current clients, it creates an environment where they want to refer their friends to us. Out of this conversation came our new mission statement.
“To provide the kind of service that clients would want to tell their friends about.”
This sentence was written down on a piece of paper and I have to admit I immediately loved it but thought it just sounded too simple. After reading it several times and thinking about it, we decided it just made perfect sense. Our previous vision statement was a pretty long paragraph filled with a lot of fluff. None of us could state our mission statement from memory. It was too long, and it made a weak attempt to describe everything we stand for. This new mission statement is very short and sweet, we can remember it, and it now drives us to create better systems that give our clients a fantastic customer service experience.
As the owner of the company, I’d like to think that we already provide great service to our clients. The simple fact that we currently get 62% of our business from referrals tells me we are doing something right, but now we have a mission statement that clearly defines the vision our group. We strive to build a business so that every single one of our clients would want to tell their friends about us.
Our brand new vision statement that follows the mission statement is, “To generate a referral from every client.” This forces us to take a hard look at everything we do throughout the entire process: communication, processes, systems, technology options that may create a smoother transaction for our buyers and sellers. Everything!
We appreciate anyone that goes out of their way to refer their friends to us, and moving into the future, we hope to refine our communication and processes even better.