“Our vision is to be the Earth’s most customer centric company.”
Everyone who visited Amazon.com last week read this in an open letter to customers written by CEO and Founder Jeff Bezos. Quoting Amazon’s mission statement, Bezos continues with a promise “to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they may want to buy.”
Amazon’s mission statement is clear and bold. They seek to be the best-not the best online retail site in America or even North America, but the world-“Earth’s most customer centric company.” No one, no customer or employee can question this company’s focus and position. They set the bar high and they have backed their words up through performance. Bezos’ letter lists a number of customer service awards they have received this year. It is impressive.
Mission statements define who you are, what you believe, and why you exist. They lay out the guiding principles by which you run your business. They set the course and tone by which your organization and all your employees operate.
I have just begun working with an organization that finds itself ranked dead last by its industry peers in terms of its operation and service. Dead Last!! Its new CEO finds himself the captain of a rudderless ship. As he talks about what he wants to do to improve performance, it is clear that trying to merely improve will not be enough. To reenergize his managers, employees, and board; to engage his disenchanted customers, he has to be bold. Cautionary, incremental steps will not be enough. He must set a course to drive this organization to be the best. Fortunately, he has already begun to lead the charge.
Now, we all know that mere words on paper will not right this sinking ship-only sustained performance over time will do it. But by boldly setting a new standard, providing his staff clear vision and direction, can he put in place a strategic plan that guarantees he realizes his mission. And in the process, he can rally the troops around his plan, energizing them to do what needs to be done.
Amazon has set the standard for customer service and that’s why their customers remain loyal. Amazon’s employees live their mission. While your organization may not be the size of an Amazon, having in place a clear mission and a plan to achieve it is essential for your organization’s success. Leaders understand this.