Could a company’s mission statement be the driving force behind its long-term success?
The company mission statement has become almost a cliché these days. But the truth is, it can be a meaningful tool for steering the company through bad times as well as good. The catch is, the mission statement has to be actively used, not just hung on a wall or put on a shelf.
At our company, for example, we read the mission statement out loud, on a regular basis, at our team meeting on Friday mornings. Then we share events that happened during the week that exemplified our mission.
And that’s just one of at least three ways to improve the odds that a new company will last, that it will succeed for not just a year or five years but for decades.
Our company’s mission statement, written by our employees, pretty much applies to life as well as business. Our mission is to establish long-term relationships with quality-oriented customers by exceeding their expectations. Everything we do answers the question of how we go about doing that.
Quite simply, if we can honestly say in our Friday staff meeting that we accomplished that mission during the week, then we have succeeded at nurturing those long-term customer relationships.
Some of our clients have been with us since the company opened its doors in 1986.
Another business concept that sometimes gets more lip service than anything else is the importance of people. Once a clear mission statement is settled, the business management must build a team of employees with the same mindset.
Granted, it’s not always easy to find people who will be just as passionate as the company founder about quality, service, commitment and reliability. But persistence in looking for like-minded team members pays off in time.
If you want your company to thrive for many years, recognize at the start that you will never stop looking for the right people to bring your mission statement to life.
One essential aspect of those “right people” is their willingness to communicate honestly, whether they have the biggest title on the organization chart or the smallest. No problem is too big or difficult to handle if employees are communicating well with each other and with the customer.
In our business, unforeseen and unpredictable problems come up often. That’s just the nature of commercial construction, building maintenance and repair. Rather than hide from problems, we’ve found that discussing them with our customers and our employees calmly and professionally brings people together and fosters a highly positive atmosphere of team-based problem solving.
So, there you have it — three things that will definitely help a startup company survive and thrive for the long haul:
1. A mission statement that you actually use.
2. Hiring people with a passion for the mission.
3. Open and honest communication.
Gary L. Cram founded Cram Roofing in 1986 and remains as CEO and president of the San Antonio-based commercial and governmental roofing contractor.