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December 2, 2014

Forget the mission statement… create a ‘covenant.’

I took my wife’s car to the dealership last week for a little service. It was my first time at a Lexus dealership. Very nice… professional and friendly service staff with a very comfortable waiting area (serving Starbucks coffee and cinnamon rolls!).

But what really impressed me was the large acrylic display containing the words to the Lexus Covenant. What struck me was the directness and simplicity of it…

Lexus will enter the most competitive, prestigious automobile race in the world.
Over 50 years of Toyota automotive experience has culminated in the creation of Lexus cars.
They will be the finest cars ever built.

Lexus will win the race because:
Lexus will do it right from the start.
Lexus will have the finest dealer network in the industry.
Lexus will treat each customer as we would a guest in our home.

If you think you can’t, you won’t …
If you think you can, you will!
We can, we will.

So many things like that (mission statements, internal branding messages, etc.) are often more fluff than substance… more vague than clear… for internal use only, not for sharing. Not this. I think that nearly anyone who reads this – customer or employee – will get it right away. It provides direction and motivation for employees and sets expectations for customers.

So, here’s the question… what’s your covenant?

  • Have you thought about providing that kind of straight-forward direction to your staff? Do they know where your firm is heading… and why? Do they know the [very] long-term plan for the firm?
  • And what do your clients (and prospective clients) think about you? What are their expectations when working with your firm… and do you meet and exceed them?
  • Is it talked about at company meetings as a means to reinforce it… and is it publicly posted for all to see?

Historically, I have not been a fan of mission statements… too long a process to create it, too many generic words that don’t mean much, followed immediately by everyone forgetting about it and getting back to their real jobs. The Lexus Covenant was the first one of these I’ve seen in a long, long, time that [I believe] works.

Bottom line: If you’re an owner or senior executive… odds are that there is some kind of direction/plan/vision for your firm. So, why not share it? Why not create a rallying-cry for employees and clients alike? But make it count… make it matter… make it real!

When everyone is working together toward the same end game… it is amazing what can be accomplished.

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