Posts Tagged ‘vision statement’

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 Road Not Taken; How to Make Incredible Differences for Your Business and Yourself

“Two roads diverged in the yellow woods” begins the poem, The Road Not Taken, by Robert Frost. The poem ends with:


“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.”

Conventional thought suggest this was the least traveled road and I agree. Where I diverge from conventional thought or the status quo is I believe the road not taken is so because this is the path of purpose.

So many people in business and in life do not know their purpose for being in business or even why they are living at this moment in time. This lack of knowing one’s purpose diminishes the vision they have for their businesses and more importantly their values, the guiding behaviors to execute their vision statement and current mission statement. Additionally, not knowing one’s purpose in business is also an indicator of not knowing one’s own purpose.

When we have crystal clarity about our purpose, we then know when the light switch is on. In the book, The On Purpose Person, the author (Kevin McCarthy) describes being on purpose like a light switch.  When the light switch is on, our purpose is on; when the light switch is off, so is our purpose.

Purpose is the essence of your business and yourself.

Purpose goes beyond your solutions, your products or services.

Purpose reaches down deep into the “why” behind starting your business and “why” you are here right now.

Further Explanation

How many times have you attended a business to business networking event (B2B) and observed one of these two scenarios?


#1 – The White Rabbit

This is the small business owner or sales professional who is running from person to person like the White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland.

#2 – The Flower Girl

Here is the business professional who throws business cards like rose petals.  Sometimes she or he will ask you to take several to share with others.

Neither of these individuals know his or her purpose.  Their behaviors are a reflection of not knowing and are sometimes mistaken for being unprofessional to even stupid.

If you want to improve your business or even yourself, then read the book The On-Purpose Person and then invest the time to write your own purpose statement so you are more inclined to travel the road not taken.

P.S. Yes I have a written Purpose Statement hanging in my office.  And  I am more than happy to share it with you.

My purpose on this earth is to be a TRAILBLAZER ~

One who unites the gifts of creativity, curiosity, determination, faith, intelligence, intuition, patience, reflection, risk taking, and thoughtfulness.


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What’s Your Purpose?

purposePurpose, we hear that word and in so many instances never think of our own reason for being.

Why are we here right now?

What makes us unique as individuals?

Our purpose changes because our lives change.

The purpose of a baby is to:

  • Eat
  • Sleep
  • And dirty diapers

As the child grows, her or his purpose changes with age.

Young people have the purpose to explore their individuality while later on its to find a career.

Then objective changes again with having a family to sending children off on their own success path.

Finally, for many in their later years, their reason to exist revolves around their grandchildren to great grandchildren.

What I have discovered is until individuals have invested the time to answer “Why am I here?” answering other equally important questions becomes even more difficult.  Questions such as:

  • Where am I going? – Vision statement
  • How will I get there? – Mission statement (current)
  • What behaviors will I demonstrate 24/7? – Values statement

To understand who we are requires knowing our:

  • Decision making styles
  • Levels of temperament
  • Attributes or talents

By having clarity, we then can begin to craft our purpose hiding behind all the experiences of our lifetime.

Our purpose has always been there.

It is like a fine thread weaving its self through the tapestries of our lives.

The challenge is the lack of clarity has obscured why we are where are right here and now.

We get so caught up in the day to day activities of life we fail to reflect, to invest the time to think about ourselves and what we truly bring to the table of life.

We unfortunately sometimes embrace what others have told us and not what is necessarily true.

When we can identify those unique gifts, we just may be surprised that many of those gifts really are our core values such as:

  • Authenticity
  • Gratitude
  • Humor
  • Respect
  • Thoughtfulness

Crafting our own purpose statement is not an easy or quick activity. I reflected many hours as to a common link or theme that was present in the past years of my life. Taking up this challenge and completing it was probably one of the most fulfilling experiences I had ever experienced.

“My purpose on this earth is to be a trailblazer (a.k.a. heurist). One who unites the gifts of  caring, creativity, curiosity, determination, faith, intelligence, intuition, patience, reflection, risk taker and thoughtfulness.”

April 28, 2002



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Sample of a Vision Statement to Increase Sales

In speaking with another salesperson, we were discussing the importance of vision statements.  I was asked to provide a sample of a vision statement to increase sales as this small business owner admitted to not having one.

a-sample-of-a-vision-statement-to-increase-salesTo craft a vision statement simply for increase sales does an injustice to the small business owner to professional sales person because of its narrow line of sight or vision that being only sales. The vision statement by its very definition is the where the person sees his or her small business or individual life in 3 to 5 years.  Sales Training Coaching Tip: To extend the time line beyond 3 to 5 years is not wise given how much change is happening on a daily basis.

Within Triage Business Planning as well as the workbooks I have created for my small business and executive coaching clients, I share this short excerpt:

Alice in Wonderland comes across the Cheshire Cat sitting in the tree where there are several paths.  She politely asks the Cat which path should I take. The Cat then replies with a question: “Where are you going?”  Alice answers:  “I do not know.”  So the Cat quickly responds: “Well, then any path will take you there.

An old Chinese proverb stated:

“Vision without action is a daydream, but action without vision is a nightmare.”

The vision statement comes after the purpose statement for your business. Your vision statement looks to the future and describes with specific, crystal clarity a picture of where you see yourself as ultimately heading. A well articulated vision statement clearly describes the desired future, supports consistent goal achievement and governs future decisions; thereby making the decision process far easier for each self-directed leader. 

A sample of a vision statement to increase sales which in reality is vision statements for the small business or the individual might be:

  • We will be the first call for customers seeking our solutions (products and services) in this small business community


  • The first interaction with any customer will be so engaging and exceptional that experience will have the customer returning again and again eagerly looking forward to that next customer experience


  • Once someone becomes a customer, he or she will not only be likely to make recommendations about the quality of our small business, but will be so en energized they will personally call their friends and family and share their incredible shopping experiences

To craft a sample of a vision statement to increase sales only is a poor quick fix for sustainable business growth. Invest the time to undertake even a simple strategic thinking process. You just may be incredibly surprised by the results.


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Is a Vision Statement for a Sales Team Really Necessary?

A vision statement is simply that vanishing point on the horizon of where you, your organization or your sales team desires to be committed to writing.  Of course, with change continually happening, the clarity of that vision probably will alter as well.

vision-statementMany organizations that have undergone a simple to complex strategic thinking and planning process probably have participated in a vision statement exercise. The purpose is to secure organizational alignment around business growth.  Sometimes many resources are invested in crafting a compelling, emotionally charged vision statement.

Yet for some sales teams especially those establishing new vertical markets or with new solutions (products or services), creating a vision statement for the sales team may actually be beneficial.

The benefit is clarity.

The crystallization of clarity is so critical to business growth within any department be it sales, customer service to operations.

This vision statement for the sales team probably would be shorter in duration instead of 3 to 5 years, possibly 1 to 2 years. For example, the vision statement may be as simple as:

To be recognized as the fastest growing United States for profit business in the healthcare industry by providing Six Sigma based business solutions through the integration of technology with mandated compliances.

Now the mission statement would follow and would include 3 specific and measurable goals to ensure the realization of the sales team’s vision. Sales Training Coaching Tip:  Most companies have expensive mission statements that are really vision statements.

To answer the question is a vision statement for a sales team is necessary? Yes it is necessary especially for any forward thinking sales team that wishes to push the status quo and reach that next level of success in a much quicker time frame.

Leanne Hoagland-Smith is a heurist who disrupts the status quo by discovering new ways to guide and support sales teams for small business to mid size organizations through chaotic business growth.   She is recognized as one of the Top 25 Sales Influencers in 2013 by Open View Sales Labs. Call her at  219.759.5601 CST to schedule a complimentary 30 minute strategy session.

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In Today’s Small Business World the Two Rs of Right People in the Right Seats Are Not Enough

In the book, Good to Great, Jim Collins, discusses the two Rs of the right people in the right seats. As much as having the right people in the right seats is important, there are another 5 critical Rs missing.

right people in the right seats


Right Talents– If your people are not using their right talents, misdirected energy to other limited and costly resources are wasted.

Right Decisions – If your people are not making the right decisions, then no matter how good they are, the end results will not be achieved. This R is directly connected to communicating the overall organizational goals along with vision and values.

Right Results — If your people are not securing the right results, this suggest misalignment, poor communication and ineffective teams along with other organizational issues are present.

Right Time Frame – If your people are not completing their actions in the right time frame, again missed opportunities are happening.

Right Environment – Without the right environment where accountability and personal responsibility are consistently demonstrated from the top down as well as adherence to the organization’s vision statement and values statement, hen even the best employees are being set up to fail.

Creating a culture of high performance is not easy given the diversity of people as well as the velocity of change within the small business world. Once you identify where your performance gaps exist, then your small business can take action to close those very costly performance  gaps and go beyond just having the right people in the right seats.

P.S. To help your people and small business make 2013 better than 2012 consider this FREE webinar – 3 Dirty Words in Business – on Thursday December 6, 2012 from 12-12:30pm CST.


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Innoculate Yourself from the Weasel Epidemic with Personal Accountability – Friday’s Editorial

Several recent postings by Dan Waldschmidt, another by Keith Rosen along with the young woman who fell into the fountain reminded me about something David Herdlinger said to a group of executive coaches and consultants several years ago at a conference hosted by Resource Development Corporation near Reading, PA. David discussed “weaseling internal behaviors” that keep people from personal accountability (self improvement).  These  weaseling behaviors are indicated through the use of the following words:

  • Would of
  • Could of
  • Should of
  • Maybe
  • Try
  • Might

Since that enlightening presentation of how individuals create their own self-fulfilling prophecies, I have added these as noted in the book Be the Red Jacket:

  • Think
  • Yeah, but
  • Hope (in non spiritual situations)

Personal accountability, not to be confused with accountability for others, is “to be responsible for the consequences of one’s own decision and actions.” (Source: Innermetrix) When people exhibit this self improvement attribute or talent they will not make excuses for a poor decision and will not push the bad decision off to someone or something else such as “I cannot increase sales because it is the economy, stupid!” or the all famous one “It’s not my fault (that I made this bad decision) because….”

Weaseling behavior starts at an early age and is sometimes helped by the K-16 educational experience.  Also the lack of positive core values contributes to all the would ofs, could ofs and should ofs.

Weaseling means making an excuse for why individual actions did not achieve the desired results. And with so many in leadership positions from the President down to the local professionals looking for ways to sidestepped personal responsibility no wonder there is a “Weasel Epidemic.”

To inoculate yourself from this ever growing “Weasel Epidemic” begins with the creation of the following:

  1. Purpose statement (Answers the questions “Why am I here?” and “What gifts do I bring to the table of life?”
  2. Values statement (Non-negotiable behaviors to be demonstrated 24/7 and may include some of the gifts from the purpose statement)
  3. Vision statements (Personal and professional or business)
  4. Mission statements (Personal and professional or business by answering the question “Where do I wish to be by the end of the year?”)
  5. Goal driven actions plans (Personal and professional or business)
  6. Personal affirmation statements or what I prefer to call “Belief statements”
  7. Identifying a personal accountability partner to reinforce and ensure compliance

Each individual has so many unfulfilled opportunities yet the weasel excuses seem to run amok.  For example, in the US according to a recent McKinsey report obesity indirectly costs the United States at least $450 billion annually—almost three times the direct medical cost. Even though I disagree that this should be addressed by the government because it is all about personal accountability, the failure of personal accountability is measurable and affects others.  You have 100% choice of what you put into your mouth and 100% choice of how to balance the input against the output (exercise).  However if young people are not directly taught and shown personal accountability by individuals who demonstrate personal accountability 24/7, then we continue to spread this “Weasel Epidemic” by our own behaviors.

In 2010 I attended an obesity conference.  The majority of those n attendance were overweight to obese. And these folks were helping their clients who were obese. If we believe people are influenced by others, what message was being conveyed?

Years ago when I was substitute teaching in an affluent high school, I was told directly by one of the students “It does not matter to me what you do or say to the principal, my Dad will take care of it.” And we wonder why we have serious ethics (character) issues in this country?  Between people believing they can weasel to others allowing them to weasel should we really be surprised?

Personal accountability is a talent and can be measured. This is one talent I look for along with personal goal setting, personal commitment, attitude toward honesty, internal self control, personal drive, self management, self assessment and using common sense.  All of these talents help to support personal accountability and even better can be measured using a deducted and objective proven process such as the Attribute Index as published by Innermetrix (my personal favorite).

If all of this self improvement  sounds overwhelming, then start with this first step – Remove the following word from your vocabulary – TRY! Then add another “Weasel Word” each week.  As in the immortal words of that famous and beloved philosopher Yoda (Yes I am a Star Wars fan!):

Try not. Do… or do not. There is no try

Graphic Courtesy of Bing Images

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The Countdown – 1 Day – Until a New Business Year to Increase Sales

If you have been reading this business and sales blog for the last 5 days, you have already read about the importance of  having and taking action on the following:

  1. Vision Statement
  2. Values Statement
  3. Mission Statement
  4. Ideal Customer

Now with the New Year just ready to cross your business doors’ threshold, today is the day to look at future trends.  The constant dynamics of the marketplace ensure that conducting business especially if you are selling is never stagnant. Understanding trends is part of being ahead of the flow as I discuss in Be the Red Jacket in a Sea of Gray Suits.

If you sell business to consumer (B2C0, do you know some of the recognized and identified trends for 2011? Over at Trendwatching, they identified 11 trends for 2011 New Year.

The first trend according to this author is  consumers want the “real touch” after probably feeling numbed by all the technology. This trend appears to be a no-brainer.  Social media can help to demonstrate your business is kinder as long as you keep to these eight social media resolutions as advised by Steve McKee over at Business Week

Trends also may be specific to your industry and to your ability to define your ideal customer profile. For example within human resource departments and organizations overall, beginning January 1, there will be an estimated 10,000 boomers turning 65 each day.  What does that do to your leadership and succession planning if you even have one? Facebook continues to trend with higher users and reached over 570,000,000 users making it more popular than Google.

Ignoring trends can be potentially fatal to your business.  Now is not the time to play “ostrich” with your head in the sand because you are so busy working IN your business instead of ON your business.

P.S. If you wish to stop the bleeding of your small business and want a quick solution to help you, then Triage Business Action Plan may work for you.

Graphic courtesy of Bing Images –

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The Countdown – 2 Days Until a New Business Year to Increase Sales

As you look forward to 2011, who do you want as customers or clients to ensure that you achieve your vision statement and mission statement? Many small business owners and even those crazy busy sales people forget to identify and clarify their ideal customers.  Sure they may have business plans, but this step has been missed possibly because they did not have  specific marketing plans as they were focused on their sales plans.

For example, executive coaches, business coaches, sales coaches or organizational consultants look at specific target markets such as small business owners. This is a popular target market for many. In some cases, this potential market is further reduced by industry such as manufacturing, distribution or services.  Unfortunately this is where identification stops for many.

What would happen if you further peeled away the onion so to speak by articulating additional demographics and more importantly pyschographics details?  Demographics would include:

  • Age
  • Years in business
  • Geographic location
  • Gender
  • Total sales or revenue
  • Number of employees
  • Number of locations
  • Average client value

Psychographics are the “why” behind the buying decision making process.  This are sometimes a little more difficult to ascertain, but could include:

  • Being crazy busy
  • Conservative in how they approach their business decisions
  • Avoid risks
  • Embrace risks
  • Forward thinking
  • Prefer working with one gender over the other

Additionally also understanding the value they place on changing from where they are now to where they wish to be. Most people have wants and needs, but the intrinsic value they place on those wants and needs are different. Sales Training Coaching Tip:  This is Sales Buying Rule #3.

For many small business owners and crazy busy sales people, they may have 2 to 4 ideal customer profiles depending upon their solutions (products or services).  Each ideal customer profile is very detailed and helps to keep the focus on doable potential customers and away from all those suspects posing as prospects.  Another advantage is this profile helps to reduce the sales cycle time.

If you want to increase sales in 2011 and make it an even better year than 2010, consider investing the time to construct your ideal customer profile.  As someone who has benefited strongly by taking this action, I truly you will benefit as well.

P.S. Looking for a weekly accountability partner? Possibly may be of interest to you?

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The Countdown – 5 Days until a New Business Year to Increase Sales

Two thousand eleven is 5 days away. As the countdown continues, what are you doing to make 2011 better than 2010 (think increase sales)?

Today invest 15 minutes and review the vision for your business. Where do you see your business in 3 years? If you have not committed this vision to writing, then take the time to do so. Sales Training Coaching Tip:  Within your strategic plan, your vision statement along with your values, mission and purpose statements help within the decision making process.

Theodore Hesburgh said of the vision:

“It’s got to be a vision you articulate clearly and forcefully on every occasion. You can’t blow an uncertain trumpet.”

A powerful vision statement is the key to unlock the future.  This statement galvanizes you, your employees and even your customers.  Whether you are a one person shop or a thousand plus employee organization, a vision statement is required.

Tomorrow is day four to the countdown and will focus on another critical statement within your strategic business plan.

P.S. If you need a quick check up or a simple business plan, then this onsite or teleconference business planning workshop, might be of interest.

Graphic courtesy of Bing Images –

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