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This chapter is from the book

Translating Core Values into Mission into Action

Think of the mission statement as the way your company translates its core values into a call to action. Blue C Sushi's mission statement ended up being this:

    To provide our guests with the finest value-oriented sushi experience possible, as reflected by the natural purity of our sushi, the simple elegance of our surroundings, and the pride of our sushi chefs. We treat our food with reverence and our guests with honor and dignity.

A lot of people make the mistake of believing that the mission statement should be some kind of slogan or tagline. The opposite is true. You should try not to come up with a catchphrase or verbal short-hand at first. Use as many words as you need to fully flesh out everything the company is, stands for, and does. The goal is to be complete, accurate, and aspirational.

To ensure that you consider your mission in the broadest terms, you should list all the customers and other constituencies that your company touches, what benefit they get from your company (or product), and how they receive those benefits. A simple matrix will help for this step. For example, a pharmacy has patients who benefit from their medicines and from information about prescriptions and generic equivalents; doctors and health-care facilities that benefit by having a knowledgeable dispenser of medication; and insurance companies that benefit from modern bill-processing systems the pharmacy should have. Do not forget to include partners, employees, and shareholders (or investors) and how they benefit. The goal is to broaden your awareness of what you really do while also describing what you do in concrete terms. As you fill in the matrix of customers and benefits, you put together a full picture of how you actually play in the world, and you look for the larger concepts that tie all of the elements together.

With your preparation done, write up what you do completely. The initial mission statement for the pharmacy, for instance, might read something like this:

    The Hankins Hall Pharmacy recognizes that today's customers want more than just prescriptions. They want a healthy lifestyle and complete information about their medicine. We provide the highest-quality pharmacological services, educate our clientele, and offer additional products to enhance health and fitness. We ensure that customers understand their prescriptions and possible side-effects, and we are actively alert to conflicts between any prescriptions. We offer lower-cost alternatives where possible. We treat our employees well and provide the most up-to-date training possible to ensure the highest customer satisfaction. We provide the most modern systems possible to ensure promptness in the ordering and delivery of medicines and in the billing and payment process. We strive to maximize returns for investors in keeping with good healthcare standards.

A mouthful, no question. There is also no question what this pharmacy stands for. From here, it is relatively easy to come up with a pithier mission statement or (my preference) a three-word mantra; that is, three words or short phrases that define the essence of the brand or company.

The formal mission statement might ultimately read something like this:

We provide the highest quality medicines at the lowest possible price, educate our clientele about their prescriptions and all health matters, and offer additional products and services to support healthy life choices. We provide the finest training possible for our staff and reward them fairly. We strive to achieve an equitable return in keeping with good healthcare standards.

The three-word mantra for the company might be this:

We offer the best medicines, personal service, and education.

We offer a range of health and lifestyle products and services.

We offer wellness and fitness programs to promote healthy lives.

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