If your company ever needs a quick-fix mission statement, check out the mission statement generator at www.dilbert.com. Using a program that randomly organizes power phrases and buzzwords, just a couple clicks of the mouse and the Dilbert comic strip characters churn out quips like “It is our business to enthusiastically fashion seven habit-conforming leadership skills in order that we may completely revolutionize parallel paradigms for 100 percent customer satisfaction.”
It's humorous, for sure, because most of us at some point in our careers have been in that type of corporate vacuum where, in the absence of true leadership and established and practiced values, someone dreams up a mission statement that no one understands or works toward yet is magically supposed to regenerate profits, customers, and employee morale.
But when developed and harnessed correctly, mission statements—and more importantly the corporate culture and values that they embody—can become a powerful catalyst for growth.
Consider Newport Beach, Calif.–based Fieldstone Communities, which is poised to double its annual volume of approximately 775 homes a year by 2006.“No one joins Fieldstone without understanding our values and no one stays at Fieldstone without practicing them,” says executive vice president, CFO, and company director Ken Artz of the values powering his company's growth surge. “They really do drive our corporate culture and guide us as to how we treat ourselves and others.”
In “Value Proposition,” a profile of Fieldstone Communities by Jay Holtzman in the May 2004 issue of BIG BUILDER, a sister publication of PROSALES, Artz details the values that continue to serve Fieldstone, including:
Not only are Fieldstone employees evaluated on how their performance matches up against the corporate value structure during annual reviews, but company executives are held to the culture litmus test as well. Each year employees are surveyed to determine whether “we are living our values and if the leadership in the company is modeling the values,” Fieldstone CEO and president Frank Foster tells BIG BUILDER.
While many pro dealers are operating in the sales, logistics, and delivery arenas rather than the corporate boardroom, company values nonetheless still dictate the course of most decisions. An energizing corporate culture and mission is notoriously difficult to define—especially without the buzzwords—but it's usually easy to recognize: happy employees, satisfied customers, growth opportunities.
In the quest to succeed, it can only serve dealers to follow the lead of companies like Fieldstone. Take the value statements off the wall and put them into action, applying your company and your employees to the mission at hand and making regular system checks to ensure you are staying on course.