Mission Statement or Promise? Do mission statements really mean anything?

We have all heard them, read them or even chosen to live by them, mission statements, but do they really mean anything?


Can you recite your mission statement?

Come on! You’ve seen it a hundred times, maybe a thousand times. It’s some
drivel about being number one, exceeding expectations, and building shareholder
value that contains other nonsensical words that mean nothing to anyone except
the marketing people who dreamed it up one afternoon.

I often wonder if there is anyone actually in charge of implementing the
mission statement. I think you could find such a person over at Disney World
heading up the “Fantasyland” department.

REALITY: Why is your mission statement always put in terms
of you, rather than what you might do for others?

As a customer, or potential customer, I don’t really care about you
unless you can do something of perceived value for me.

Which brings me to my prime question of the day, maybe of the decade:
Is it a mission or a promise? And in the end, which is more powerful?

Several years ago I created a list of customer promises. The promises
revolved around what would be done in favor of our customers. And all of the
sudden, I didn’t need a mission statement because the promises, when enacted,
automatically created achievement, memorability, WOW!, and loyalty.

Jeffrey Gitomer, Buy Gitomer, and TrainOne, customer promises and

■We will be friendly.

■We will be professional.

■We will provide the highest quality products.

■We will provide the highest quality training.

■We will do what we promise.

■We will keep you informed as we progress.

■We will keep our technology state-of-the-art.

■We will think long term in all our endeavors.

■We will be an expert resource for you.

■We will provide prompt service.

■We will maintain great attitudes toward service.

■We will earn your loyalty with quality and value.

■We will use creativity to differentiate and dominate.

■We will customize and personalize all enterprise training.

■We will increase your sales.

■We will cultivate relationships by paying attention to individual needs and

■We will take as much pride in your business as you do.

■We will maintain our dedication to lifelong learning.

■We will recover memorably when an error occurs.

■We will respond in a heartbeat or faster.

■We will serve with a smile.

■We will serve memorably – service is an opportunity and a priority, not a job

■We will make providing you the best service our top priority.

■We will treat all customers the same – LIKE GOLD.

■We will collaborate with you every step of the way.

■We will become an expert in your business to grow your business, and ours.

■We will be your BEST partner.

■We will not just lead by example – we will set a standard.

■We will always go the “Extra Mile.”

■We will kiss ass.

■We will practice what I preach.

One of the nicest compliments I receive is a single sentence: You
walk your talk.
That’s the reaction of customers when they receive
what we promise. We don’t tell them what the promises are. No one says, “We are
going to be friendly.” Everyone is just genuinely friendly.

It’s taken me years to finally decide that these promises should be made
public. The main reason I’m doing it is that service around the world is rapidly

BIG PICTURE: All of these promises and commitments
favor the customer, our relationship with them, and what actions we have to
take in order to EARN their business, repeat business,
loyalty, referrals, and testimonials.

NOTE: None of these promises and commitments are “missions.”
They’re all “actions.”
They are all about what outcome the customer
needs and is hoping for. In other words, what does the customer want AFTER we
take an action or they buy a product?

If your mission statement is all about you, get
rid of it. Take this list of promises and commitments and revise them to suit
your business, your employees, and especially your customers. When you do,
everyone will have a mission – not just the marketing department.


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