Like many businesses, you’re doing everything you can to stay ahead of your competition. You're developing new processes, training key people on how to be more efficient in their jobs, streamlining your products and services so they are at their peak, and enhancing your marketing department so your business can soar. On the surface, business seems great.
However, despite all the planning, your true business results may paint a different picture. Sales are down, customers aren’t staying loyal, and layoffs may be on the horizon. If you’re so good, then why isn’t your business doing so well?
For most businesses facing these challenges, the answer lies in one key question: What tasks take up the majority of your time? If you spend most of your time on processes—making things smoother, more efficient, and streamlining the business—you may be in for a surprise. Because the very tasks that you think will make you and your business better can actually hinder your success.
Why? The more time you spend on processes, the farther your customers move from your mind. And the more involved you get with processes, the easier it is to forget that your true job is to make your customers’ lives easier, not yours. The processes you develop should make it easier for others to do business with you, not for you. For example, instead of spending your time creating a phone script for your employees to use with each caller, you need to focus on the outcome of each call—the customer service that should be given, the product knowledge your employees need, and the training employees should get to ensure they handle each call in a professional and efficient manner. These are the aspects that will make customers want to call you again.
The First Step: Determine Your Outcome So Your Company Stands Out
To make your company stand out and thrive in today’s “me” oriented society, this paradigm shift from developing processes to focusing on the intended outcome must occur. If not, your business will not survive the long-term.
The first step is to detail what outcome you want your business to serve. For example, why should a client choose you over a competitor? Or, as an employee, how can you judge that you have done a good day’s work? What outcome should you and your employees be aligned with?
If you can’t answer those questions in your company, you are probably floundering. The market’s momentum may be carrying your company today, but what will happen tomorrow?
The Banking Dilemma: Process versus Outcome
One main industry that has focused on process and has forgotten about the outcome is the banking industry, which is struggling to reinvent itself today. In virtually every area of the country, banks are trying everything they can think of to attract new customers, from implementing casual sweatshirt days to giving free gifts with new accounts to offering free refreshments on Fridays. While all these ideas give customers a positive impression of the bank, none are designed with the outcome in mind, which is to develop a lasting relationship with customers.
Talk to any bank manager and you’ll hear the same thing: “We used to be the center of the community. Everyone came to us to get loans. Our people could just sit in the office and decide how to process loans. We basically were order takers. Today we have to go out and get sales. We have to compete against credit card companies, and quite frankly, our people don’t really know how to sell. How can we get back on track?”
Unfortunately, most banks these days focus on how to process a loan and on how to make things run smoother in the bank. They neglect to focus on the outcome—that they are in the position of helping people securely grow their assets and contribute to a better life. In fact, if banks had kept focused on the customer, they would have gotten in to debit cards and ATM transactions much sooner. They would also realize that people need to manage their assets, and trust departments would restructure to maximize impact.
But banks are just one example of an industry that became focused on process rather than outcome and it came back to bite them. It happens every day in every industry. If your team is not working well and you’re not meeting your business goals, chances are you don’t have an outcome that everyone is aligned with—you’re lacking your passion statement.
Passion Statements Drive OutcomesIf you find yourself in similar situation, ask yourself this question: “What is my business’s passion statement?” Or, “What is that one statement that I can align with every day that tells me I am doing a good job—that one statement that tells me what the outcome is that we are working for?”
If you’re like the thousands of other professionals, you probably don’t have a passion statement, nor do you know how to develop one. You may even believe that your company’s vision and/or mission statements fit the bill, but they’re actually three separate and distinct business statements.
The Second Step: Why a Passion Statement is Necessary
What is the difference between a vision statement, a mission statement, and a passion statement?
A vision statement is the direction your company is going in. It answers the question, “Why do we exist?”
A mission statement is what you will do or what you will deliver to customers in order to reach your vision.
Finally, a passion statement is the one thing employees need to focus on that will automatically align their behavior and choices so they fulfill the company’s mission and vision statements.
For example, here are the three statements as related to a tele-messaging company:
Vision Statement: To be the call center for busy professionals across the world.
Mission Statement: To deliver excellent tele-messaging service for our professional clients. We will do this in a profitable, courteous and professional manner with motivated employees.
Passion Statement: Your best friend’s on the line.
Most mission and vision statements are too convoluted for the average person to remember. They don’t tell you how to behave in order to achieve the results. The passion statement, on the other hand, is a simple message to remember and act upon. It is so simple in fact, that organizations that have implemented one have seen substantial sales increases, smoother operations, and lower turnover.
The Third Step: Create Your Passion Statement Today
Fortunately, there is a simple way to tell if you are missing your outcome. First, you need to determine whether or not you have a passion statement. To do so, answer these five quick questions:
- Can every employee work independently without a lot of supervision?
- Can you stop any person in your company and ask, “Why is our business in existence today? What do we do for customers?” and always get the same answer?
- Is the statement “we do not have any turf wars” true for your company?
- Does every person in your company feel they can do what is right to correct a situation, or does your company rely on a “procedure manual” on how to handle situations?
- Does your management team spend most of their time planning the future and not putting out every day crisis?
If you answered yes to all of the above questions, then your company is sitting well and is clearly positioned. You probably have a company that runs like clockwork and people enjoy working there.
However, if you’re like most companies, you probably answered no to at least some of the questions. If so, you need to regroup, carefully look at your company, and develop your passion statement. Chances are that you have become bogged down with rules and regulations that have moved you away from your main desired outcome.
To create your company’s own passion statement, follow these simple steps:
- First, look at what your vision and mission statements are.
- Then look at the traits, skills, and values you need to see in employees in order to fulfill the vision and mission statements.
- List the challenges and frustrations employees are facing that are stopping them from fulfilling the vision and mission statements.
- Write out what your company would be like if everything was running like clockwork. What would the atmosphere be like? Who would be your customers? What kinds of things would your customers say and think about you? What would life be like for employees?
- Lay all of these images out on white sheets across the room. Find the synergy that connects them all and start brainstorming your passion statement from there. Remember that your goal is to design a passion statement that gives you the behavior you need to see in order to achieve your vision and mission statements.
To get a true sense of your company’s passion statement, refocus as a group immediately and determine what is important for your company to achieve. What is the main goal you have for each of your customers? What perception do you want your customers to have of you? What kind of work ethic do you want to instill in your employees? What can you do to make doing business with you easier? When you identify the answers to these questions, you can begin to develop your passion statement and get the New Year off to a great start.
As the leading Outcome Strategist, Anne Warfield shows people how to say the right thing at the right time every time. The revolutionary Outcome Focus® Approach shows how to build a candid corporate culture of communication that allows you to lead, present and negotiate transformationally rather than transactionally. When applying Outcome Thinking® our client’s results include sales cycles reducing by 75%, turnover reducing by 30%, silos evaporating, and a 25% savings of time by executives. Find out how you can maximize your corporate culture for greater productivity and results! Contact us at 888-imp-9421, visit www.impressionmanagement.com, or email