Mastery can be a valid sales goal - what is your mission?

"We seek not to imitate the masters; rather we seek what they sought." The Walt Disney Company


• What is your mission in life?

• In sales?

• In business?

When you walk into many companies, you'll see well intentioned mission or vision statements on their walls espousing the "value of teamwork", their "employees are their most valuable assets", and a "commitment to their customers". Slogans to rally the sales team abound on walls across the world. All great sounding phrases or sentiments.

Unfortunately, for too many, they are simply posters on the wall and not embedded commitments in the hearts and minds of their leaders and employees. In fact, if you ask many of their employees or sales teams to share their company mission statement, you'll find confusion and halfhearted attempts to remember and restate them.

There are some misconceptions and misuse around these two statements. "Vision" implies how you see yourself, and "Mission" implies a commitment to action. Both are important!

How you "see" yourself (yourself or your organizational image) will impact how you act or interconnect with your co-workers or clients. It also impacts how confidently you take action in your marketplace. Your commitment to act will set you apart from your competition. It will also focus your energies in better serving your customers and build long-term, more mutually profitable selling relationships.

Mission statements are important - when they work!

• They work when they provide a visual reminder of what the leadership and the whole team is committed to creating.

• They work when they are embedded in the minds and hearts of the team.

• They work when they are modeled in the lifestyles and interactions with both internal and external customers.

• They work when they are taken off the posters and planted in the minds and hearts of all who come in contact with you.

• They work when they are in-line with your core values and when you have generated buy-in with your team in making them work in the real world.

Your purpose for 'being' and for 'growing' your sales career or business is encapsulated in their brevity. They can be formal or informal, but they need to be real. They need to be relevant to you and to your customers.

You may also have statements for different aspects of your career or business. For example Toyota Motor Corporation (the world's greatest manufacturer) has one to underscore their commitment to taking responsibility for their own successes and failures. "We strive to decide our own fate. We act with self-reliance, trusting in our own abilities. We accept responsibility for our conduct and for maintaining and improving the skills that enable us to produce added value." (Toyota Way 2001)

Successful companies seek to better themselves and to learn from other successful companies, as stated above by The Walt Disney Company.

Here are a few examples of "Mission Statements" gleaned from successful organizations for your consideration and comparisons:

"To make money and have fun." W.L. Gore and Associates

The Girl Scouts of America dedicate themselves "to the purpose of inspiring girls with the highest ideals of character, conduct, patriotism, and service that they may become happy and resourceful citizens."

At Quality Inns, their vision is "to pursue excellence and become the most recognized, respected, and admired lodging chain in the world."

Fetzer Vineyards, one of the biggest and best known wineries in the USA, developed a mission statement that included their commitment to the environment and the community. "We are an environmentally and socially conscious grower, producer and marketer of wines of the highest quality and value."

According to Levi Strauss & Company their mission provides daily inspiration. "Above all we want satisfaction from accomplishments and friendships, balanced personal and professional lives, and to have fun in our endeavors."

Colgate-Palmolive is a leader in providing consumer products and services that meet or exceed customer needs and expectations worldwide. "Our mission," they proudly proclaim to the world, "is to improve continuously our products and services so that our Company, our people, our business partners, and our shareholders will grow and prosper, enabling us to become the best global products company."

What's yours?

• Does it excite you and your sales team?

• Does it drive your passion to serve?

• Does it serve as a moral compass or directional guide for everyone on your sales team?

Charles Garfield writes, "Mission is an image of desired affairs that inspires action, determines behavior, and fuels motivation."

• Does yours inspire you?

• Does it inspire your team to want to win?

• Does it inspire trust in the minds of your customers?

• Does it ring true and is it relevant to your business?

Many of you are already committed to creating a solid and successful career. Some of you successfully lead teams and have your own organizations. I applaud your dedication in these worthy goals.

My commitment (mission statement) in everything I do, is to help equip and motivate you, your leaders, your sales team, and your employees to win; to help you visualize your growth and sales success and, then, to surpass it and amaze yourselves and your families. To say nothing of out-pacing, out-thinking and out-lasting your competitors! Visit:

Buck Rogers of IBM fame, once said, "The first thing you must do to become a great organization is to spell out in writing your beliefs and purpose. Write a credo that will be a behavioral guide to every person in your company, from entry-level positions to CEO. This creed, once thought out and formalized, should become as much a part of the company's operation as its product, service, or policies."

One hint: The mission statement must be something that creates 'solid buy-in' on all levels and not just something cooked up in the executive board room. Not engaging everyone in making it relevant and memorable is a recipe for failure.

In addition to organizational statements, I believe each of us needs at least two more focused mission statements:

1) A personal one to help us define and direct who we are, what we value, what legacy we want to leave, and who we want to become; and

2) A professional one to help us define and direct what we do in the market place, what we bring to our various professional roles, what we invest in our professional development, and most importantly what we are committed to in serving our customers and helping our organizations remain productive, profitable and competitive in the 21st Century.

Life can be challenging and business even more so. Having a mission statement that resonates with your values will help you succeed. By living it, your mission statement can help set you apart from your competition. It can also attract the customers who will become your fans and champions in building your sales career and business.

Kenneth T. Wessner, ServiceMaster Chairman of the Board stated it best, "Our company philosophy is expressed in four objectives. These four statements are the foundation upon which everything we do is built.

• To honor God in all we do.

• To help people develop.

• To pursue excellence.

• To grow profitably.

For the people of ServiceMaster, their work is not merely the making of a living, it is a way of life."

It is also making a difference from my perspective, and from my personal mission statement. Have a great month. "Make a leveraged difference" for you and your sales team as well as your customers.

©Copyright 2006 Bob 'Idea Man' Hooey


Canadian Ideaman, Bob Hooey is an acknowledged expert who will equip and motivate your leadership and employees to grow and win! Bob is the author of 10 business, leadership and career building books including two on sales. He is a frequent contributor and columnist for North American consumer, corporate, association, on-line trade publications on diverse topics, eg: productivity, creativity and innovation, leadership, teamwork, sales, management, training, motivation, customer service, and m...

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