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Wednesday, July 27, 2005

A Mission Statement That Works

As this blog has become more popular, I have noticed a lot of people saying that mission statements are boring and useless. I disagree. Yes, if a company develops a mission statement but fails to use it to empower their employees, then it is a waste of time. I guarantee you that the employees of Kroger do not know their company's mission statement. I can also guarantee you that the employees of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel live their company's mission statement. What's the difference between the two?

For starters, the Kroger mission statement is dry and not at all empowering. It sounds as though it was written by their CEO (the CEO's name is at the bottom of the statement) one day and then handed out to everyone as "their" mission without any input from the employees.

Now compare that with the Ritz-Carlton's mission statement. It is definitely empowering. I was thinking while I was reading it that I wouldn't mind working there. Somehow, I get the feeling that ALL their employees have read, understand, and are living the mission.

The point of all this is: in order to have a successful mission statement, each employee must have ownership of the mission. They must know why they do what they do. If I were Kroger, I would tell each store manager to have each department come up with their own mission statement. Then, I would have an employee meeting to draft up each store's mission statement. Finally, I would then hold each and every employee responsible for fulfilling the mission.

One last point: If you say that the customer comes first, but then list it third in your order of priorities, does the customer REALLY come first?


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