Posts Tagged ‘mission statements’

The Real Reason for Failed Mission Statements

Yesterday I heard another sales and marketing expert misspeak about mission statements.  His webinar probably drew thousands and hence now thousand more salespeople, SMB owners and entrepreneurs potentially will fail in their quest to increase sales and grow their businesses.

What this expert did as many other so called experts have done is confuse mission with vision. 

For example, “I want to be the best (fill in the blank)” is a vision.  It is the future desire of the individual.

A mission statement is simply the execution of the vision and potentially includes the measurement of HOW the vision will be achieved within a specific time frame of WHEN. In other words, the mission is a broad goal statement.

Probably the best way example of a mission is the old television series “Mission Impossible.” Mr. Phelps was given a mission usually to take down a bad guy and how much time he had to complete the mission. His mission was never to “be the best.”

One of the best ways to determine if your mission statement is producing results is to ask your people or yourself the following question:

What did you do today to achieve the mission? 

A vision statement of “be the best” is so broad that most firms will have people running in different directions.  Responses will be vague and again wide ranging. And failed execution is the end result.

Now take the following example and ask the same question.

“Within the next 12 months, XYZ firm will double its efforts to increase customer loyalty and retain 100% of all new customers by providing timely and quality solutions.”

The responses will be far more succinct and direct because people know what needs to be done as well as the time frame to get it done. Execution will improve and now there is a simpler way to discover the gaps for failed execution.

A 3 to 5 year Vision Statement may have 3 to even 10 Mission Statements depending upon the marketplace, the industry, the economy, etc. Remember, your mission statement is a measurable step toward achieving your overall vision.

If you are having trouble achieving increase sales or business growth, schedule a free strategy session with Leanne by CLICKING HERE to discuss your strategic planning.

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The Daily and Very Real Sales Quandary of Success or Failure

As a SMB owner or sales professional, do you ever feel this daily and very real sales quandary of being pulled in multiple directions?  Your commitments are many including:


  • Marketing
  • Selling
  • Operations
  • Clients
  • Sales Leads
  • Family
  • Professional Development
  • Personal Development
  • Free Time

Maybe you shake your head in disbelief while wondering how can you accomplish all these commitments?

For me, with writing commitments (marketing and selling) including this blog recently identified again as a top sales blog, LinkedIn Pulse articles, Worldwide Coaching Magazine, NBiz Magazine and my weekly column for the Post Tribune/Chicago Tribune (see Opinions) not too mention my other commitments including face to face prospecting, delivering solutions and continual professional development, I too face this daily sales quandary.

We as SMB professionals have only 24 hours in each day. How we organized those minutes and hours contribute to our success or failure.

If we don’t have clarity of our purpose, values, vision and mission statements written down and in front of us every day, then it is much easier to be facing this sales quandary on a daily basis.

If we lack clarity of our leadership to sales talents, our decision making styles, our temperaments, our communication behaviors, our motivators, standing at this crossroad becomes easier and easier.

If we don’t invest daily time for reflection, again we will be torn in multiple directions.

If we don’t mastermind with others to share our repetitive barriers to sustainable growth, we will continue to be at this crossroad of success and failure.

We are the masters of our destiny.

Whether we think or can or we think we cannot, either way we are right.

Thank you Henry Ford.

Being a SMB owner, entrepreneur or sales professional is not easy.  Multiple demands are made every day. These demands change because of commitments and unexpected opportunities. Possibly the previous 5 statements will bring some clarity to you and support you in facing and then overcoming this sales quandary.

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Your Leadership Actions Always Trump Your Words

Actions always trump words.  No matter what leadership says, it is what the leaders do, their leadership actions that matter.



Sure there may be words on the wall sharing the organization’s vision, values and mission statements. There may be words in the employee handbook or on the corporate website.  Yet these words remain silent to the leadership actions seen by everyone.

The old and familiar quote “Actions speak louder than words.” is so true.

In the book, Fail-Safe Leadership, the authors provide a checklist to help to determine if any organization has some leadership actions issues.  This checklist is based upon the observations of those within the organization.  For example, are “can’t do attitudes” or “excessive or unproductive meetings” observable?

Some in leadership roles want to be a friend to everyone.  They believe agreement, everyone getting along is the way to lead.  Their behaviors are very malleable and may create confusion to even disrespect.

Then there are the opposite types of leader who live by “do what I say and not what I do.” Their leadership actions generate confusion, inconsistency and disengaged employees. In some cases, fear drives the culture.

Until we learn how to read minds, our actions will always trump our words, our spoken thoughts. As leaders, each of us must take time to reflect as to how our behaviors are being viewed by others. Noted business expert Peter Drucker shared this words:

“Effective leadership is not about making speeches or being liked; leadership is defined by results, not attributes.” 

The results of your leadership are your actions.  If you want to be a better leader, look to the results your behaviors are generating.

Download this free Leadership-Align-Audit-ADVSYS to learn if your organization has leadership challenges.

* * * * *

Leanne Hoagland-Smith is THE People and Process Problem Solver. She supports forward thinking leadership in bridging the gaps between the two problems restricting strategic business growth – people and processes. Leanne can be reached at 219.508.2859 central time USA.  Follow her on Twitter or check out her profile on LinkedIn.


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Gobbledygook Mission Statements Anyone?

One of my clients, Integrative Flavors (a great company with an ever greater story) sent me this picture from a trade show with the comment “I think they need your help!”

In case the print is too small for you, the sign reads:

Our Mission We pride ourselves with the capacity to assess situation or circumstances with expert insight and draw sound conclusions that are transparently clear and easily understandable.

Directness, Simplicity, Transparency, Decipherability, Comprehensibility, Accuracy, Certainty

Now imagine for a moment you are a salesperson for this company. How will you even know you are achieving this mission statement?

Convoluted and ineffective mission statements like this one are far too common.  And what is even worse, thousands of dollars are spent on these four finger strategic planning exercises with the only result is the fattening of the consultants’ wallets.

What would happen if the company wrote a simple one year mission statement that has up to 3 critical goal categories:

  1. Revenue and profits?
  2. Continuing Education Credits?
  3. Standards or Licensing Requirements?

The following is an example of one for a financial advisory firm:

By 12/31/2010, our company will increase sales by 25% while maintaining current profitability; ensure all continuing education credits are achieved by our financial advisors and continue to work towards ISO (Baldrige) certification.

  • Does this statement provide greater clarity and direction?
  • Would I know fairly quickly as a salesperson or general employee what I needed to do to help achieve the mission?
  • As a potential customer visiting this business, would I have some idea as to where this firm is going and would it  help me decide if I wanted to engage them?

Loosey goosey mission statements filled with a lot of gobbleygook such as the one in the picture do not give loosey goosey results, but rather no results.  Sales Training Coaching Tip:  People confuse Vision (Big Picture of Stratgegy – Where I want to be?) with Mission (Smaller Picture of Tactics – How will I get there?)

Simplicity is best when it comes to uniting goals with performance. Invest some time to rethink your mission statement if you truly want to be the Red Jacket, stand out in the crowd and realize your goal to increase sales.

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