Mission is Everything

Traffic motion blur

The old story goes that President Kennedy was visiting NASA and started up a conversation with one of the cleaning staff.  As he chatted with the gentleman, he asked him what he did for NASA.  Now I am sure that this guy’s supervisor was white-knuckling it while the custodian mulled the question.  Let’s face it, this guy cleaned the urinals, emptied ashtrays, and mopped the floors. Who knew what he was going to say.

“Well, Mr. President,” said the man, “I’m helping to put a man on the moon.”

Wow, right?

I mean who could not be floored by such an amazing answer.  And let’s face it, who knows what some of our folks might say if posed the same question.  That’s the magic of that answer, it shows the mission is bigger than any one person on the team and that there are no small roles.  It’s amazing what can be possible when egos are left in check and the end goal is always kept in mind.

So that’s the challenge when it comes to motivating our teams to drive the customer experience. . . to be sure that they understand their role and importance to the overall organization.  The real juice comes from the everyone pulling the rope in the same direction and the amazing possibilities that can create.

Think of it this way:

  •  If you work for a University, the end goal is the education of the student
  •  Banks should be striving for the financial success of their members
  •  Grocery stores provide the nourishment their customers need
  •  Amusement parks bring families together and create shared memories

The trick is to find the bigger mission and inspire your team to buy in.  Repetition here is key – include the language in your communications and even create an award for those who really live the brand.  Another key to success is leadership buy in and modeling.  Let’s face it, our teams are always looking to us with regard to how to behave, so be sure to set the best of examples here.  Remember, your team will know if you are being disingenuous, so be sure that you find a way to make the mission uniquely yours and never let them see or hear you undermine it.  This kind of cultural shift can take months to fully execute, but can be undone with one simple slip of the tongue.

So the ask is clear.  Dig deep into your customer’s ultimate need and make it a shared vision for your team.  Once you have everyone rowing in the same lane, the possibilities are endless.  This powerful group belief will only benefit your customer, as the strength of the entire organization, fueled with enthusiasm and shared mission, can push their experiences to new heights.

Until next time,
Tony Johnson