“We Believe” Statements are more important than having a Mission Statement!
By Chad E Cooper
There’s a difference between a business having a mission statement, vision statement or a “we believe” statement. Although I value all three, “we believe” statements are equally as important yet each has its place in a company. I feel if you really want to create impact, if you really want people to understand what it is you do, it’s critical to understand the difference between the three. A vision or mission statement tells people what you’re doing, or where you are going. But a “we believe” statement tells people why you are doing it and that’s critical to your success.
See, it’s important for us to understand that we can say this is what/where we’re going, but people do business with others for their why, not their what/where. People want to do business with people who are similar to themselves and aligned in values, character and beliefs. So a “we believe statement” tells people about your heart, not just your direction towards a goal. It doesn’t matter if you’re a solopreneur or Fortune 500 company. You need this kind of statement because it’s going to very quickly tell people how you and your employees will show up. It’s a reminder of who we want to be on the journey, not just about getting to the finish line.
Another power of a “we believe statement” is that it gives your employees a roadmap of how to behave to create incredible customer experiences and customer satisfaction. This will always make your company more successful. You can say our vision statement is to provide low cost air travel to get you to many destinations. After all we all want to have a vacation be great and a memorable experience and low cost is a benefit. But just saying that it’s a low cost doesn’t tell anyone how your employees should behave in the process. Just saying “we’re low budget,” could say to people that your low quality or too expect low service. Maybe a more effective terminology would be to say… We believe in great service to our customers at an affordable price.
Examples of companies that state and follow what they believe: If you look at some of these companies vision statements, their “we believe statement” is vastly different than their competitors.
- Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream- https://www.benjerry.com/values; They use all three statement very effectively. You don’t have to guess at what their goals, values, and purpose are.
- Henry Ford — Said he believed that every working American household deserved to own an automobile. He drop the cost of making a car by 90% so his company could make this happen.
- Apple — https://www.apple.com/accessibility/ We believe that technology should be accessible to everyone. The most powerful technology in the world is technology that everyone, including people with disabilities, can use. To work, create, communicate, stay in shape, and be entertained. So we don’t design products for some people or even most people. We design them for every single person.
- Adidas- https://www.adidas-group.com/en/group/profile/#/adidas-and-the-badge-of-sport/ (Part of their statement) — Athletes find inspiration in sports no matter what they do. We help them to achieve their peak performance by making them faster, stronger, smarter and cooler.
Performance: Sport is the foundation for all we do and executional excellence is a core value of our Group. Passion: Passion is at the heart of our company. We are continuously moving forward, innovating, and improving. Integrity: We are honest, open, ethical, and fair. People trust us to adhere to our word. Diversity: We know it takes people with different ideas, strengths, interests, and cultural backgrounds to make our company succeed. We encourage healthy debate and differences of opinion.
As you can see from each of these, you are clear on not only what they do, but why they do it. And I might add they do it very well.
I think from a strategic standpoint, a mission and vision statement can be valuable internally in terms of giving a beacon of where they want to go as strategy. But your “we believe” statement is really more the customer-facing and internal, tactical piece. So instead of having a vision and mission statement only on your website, instead I invite you to replace your “About Us” with “we believe”. Keep a mission statement that tells about your goals, but people want to know why those goals matter to you. That’s what connects us.
You might also use the “we believe” to know how as a leader you can hire people that have the same beliefs or vision. In an interview you can share what you believe, so that you can determine if there is alignment. If you don’t do this you can end up having a large turnover of employees if there is no alignment of beliefs. “We believe” statements give clarity about the choices you make and why that vision matters. As an example; if you went out and looked at my website, www.ChadECooper.com/we-believe, look at the definition of my company’s name, Factive Nautics, is actually two words that I brought together by their definition. Factive is the ability or having the power to make and nautical or nautics is the art or science of navigation. So in my company we believe that you have the power to make and the art and science to navigate your own purposeful future. The point is for you to be the cause of a purposeful future rather than living in the effect of others deciding if you are worthy or unworthy of an abundant future. It’s your life, your responsibility. It says that I believe you already have the answers inside of you and it’s our job to ask the right questions. That’s very different than other coaching organizations or what a consultant or an adviser may say… “We have to give you the resources or the fish in order for you prosper.” At Factive Nautics we believe life is a fun adventure. We also believe in charity. So when I hire people, they must have the same beliefs and values to be truly successful for the company’s growth as well as the employee.
As a leader, you want to see whether your statements are backed by your actions and by those who represent you. Here are some tools you can use to determine whether someone you are interviewing has beliefs and values that are aligned with yours before you hire them. Have you ever used a DISC assessment and see how people actually will show up for you? (https://profiles.innermetrix.com/VO/7daecdca/en). You can see if your hiring someone for sales, are they able to be interactive, gregarious and personable with people or will they show up as an introvert? See if they can make decisions, or if they are decisive. Or see if they will sit back and wait for somebody else to make those decisions? They may tell you that they believe they will be an excellent salesperson but their actions may show that they’re actually terrible in their behavior. They may tell you… “Yeah, I can work well with others,” but their values assessment shows that in fact they are always needing to be in the spotlight and that can create some conflict with coworkers and create some cultural tensions or abrasion.
You may be asking how a “We believe statement” might assist you with potential clients? First of all once potential clients read your statement they will either be drawn to you or not approach you at all. The ones that are drawn to you are based on a commonality of values that will most likely stay with you for a very long time, and both parties will be successful. But, if you have differences like, political party affiliation for example, you can still serve them. There are two pieces to this… Understand if you’re going to say no to potential business, you may not have very many clients to bring in revenue. The second is that you may not have to agree with their positions in order to still serve them well. You just have to be sure that you’re aligned in common beliefs or common needs and that their beliefs won’t violate yours. If it’s neutral your fine. But if taking on a client who will violate your beliefs, it will be a failed relationship. Some examples; You don’t believe in child labor and you are being asked represent a clothing company that uses child labor in a foreign country and you know it. Or if you are violently against guns, and a gun manufacturer wants you to do their marketing? I think it would be best for both parties to pass.
You have to have commonality because a happy relationship is not about the amount of money anyone can earn. If you only take a job for the money you end up paying in the end? Like a client of mine who is a vegetarian but working for a meat company. She is not directly on the line, but in one of the white collar positions. This job slowly eats away at her because it violates her character and values. The pain just continues to chip away and erode her becoming a constant chronic reminder that she is accepting what she gets and not being committed to getting what she needs. This reminder that she is taking money in exchange for sacrificing her standards. This client needs an environment of energy that is in harmony and an energetic vibration for her to be happy and successful. It’s not the companies fault either, she just didn’t match what they “believe.”
For people who may be lost and confused on how to do a “we believe” statement. Let me give you the steps to create this? The easiest would be — is to just take a first stab at writing down what you stand for. What do you believe? Then once you write that down, ask yourself, Can I demonstrate that by this statement? In other words, is it apparently visible to somebody who would observe your behavior? So, do you say, We believe in quality customer service, does this ask you to demonstrate any behavior? Or could you say, We believe in quality customer service by listening to our customers’ needs and dreams. You just want to make sure your statement represents your beliefs, character or values — and how they are demonstrable in your behavior?
Another example might be… “We believe in charity,” or you can say, “We believe in demonstrating charity through our foundation work in Guatemala by creating missionary teams to change widowed women with children’s lives.” Or “We believe in family values by providing free childcare to all employees.” That’s demonstrating. Not only do you believe it, but you back it up just like Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream or other great examples of companies embracing “We Believe Statements.”
So now go write the best “We Believe Statement” for your business and watch how much more successful in all aspects of business you soon will be.
Learn more about living a Legendary Lifestyle TM at http://www.chadecooper.com