By Goke Ilesanmi
Many entrepreneurs today believe they are too busy to accord issues such as creation of a mission statement or credo due attention. This is because they think a mission statement or credo is of little or no effect or importance. Even if they acknowledge the importance of any of these, they think they (entrepreneurs) will get to that issue later when they have enough time. Hardly do they know that time does not grow. We always think we are going to have more time one day, but we actually have less. Time waits for nobody.
Definition and illustration
Note that the word “Credo” refers to a formal statement of the beliefs of a person, group, religion, etc. The noun phrase “Mission statement” refers to the official statement about the aims of a company or organisation; while “Personal mission statement” refers to a clear statement about what a person aspires to achieve in life. A personal mission statement can be used to chart one’s career course, and the example of a personal mission statement is, “To become one of the best consultants in Nigeria”.
Let us go back to the illustration of the difference between mission statement and credo going by their definitions. While the expression “To make customers king” is a (business) mission statement; the expression “Customers are king” is a credo, a belief system.
Building a belief system
To achieve tremendous success in your organisation, it requires no oracular intervention to know that you need to create a sense of purpose throughout your company by building a belief system and sticking to it religiously. Jim Amos, CEO of Mail Boxes Etc says knowledge-based workers own the knowledge we lack. Amos adds that knowledge-based workers may obtain information from our systems, but they individually own the knowledge.
In his words, “People run the systems—the systems don’t run the people. Knowledge-based workers must be passionate about their purpose, beliefs and mission; they must have and then apply their discretionary energy with all of that in mind. My job is simply to keep the dream in front of them—to keep the Mail Boxes Etc. dream in the forefront of their minds at all times. But it doesn’t stop there. The sales process is about constant communication.”
Creating your credo
To learn how to put the power of purposeful belief to work in accomplishing your own mission, you need to get in touch with what gives you that power in the first place, that is, you. Anthony Parinello, author of the bestselling book “Selling to VITO, the Very Important Top Officer”, says, “In the end, you are your own best ally—or your most formidable competitor—when it comes to harnessing a sense of mission and purpose. This intangible quality, essential to successful interactions with top ‘C’-level decision-makers and approvers, either arouses your own opinions, beliefs and convictions…or doesn’t!”
Inspiring your staff to provide great customer service starts with figuring out just what you stand for. Perhaps the most important factor in the success of any company, especially a new one, is customer service. It is a proven fact that a business with good products and great customer service will be more successful than the one with great products but poor service.
In the words of Patty Vogan, an executive coach for business and personal success, and chairman of TEC International, who has many years of experience in leadership, management, team-building and marketing, “It’s easy to say ‘We’ll provide great service to our customers’, but it’s somewhat more difficult to actually do it. Just how can you initiate and maintain dedication to excellent service, both in yourself and in your employees? One important step is to create a company credo that reflects your strong belief in servicing your customers well.”
Disney’s customer service
Research shows that Disneyland is a company, whose credo has been around for more than 50 years now. The credo reads, “The happiest place on earth.” Disney’s customer service standard is so simple and yet so incredibly effective that it has been successfully adopted by many businesses. Its customer service standard embodies the concept of being “on stage and off stage”. The “off stage” area is a place for staff only. No guests are allowed in that area.
And that is the only place where staff are allowed to “vent” or discuss their personal problems. But when staff walk through the doors into the main areas of the park, they are considered to be “on stage”, and they have to leave all their personal problems behind. The smile that lives in their hearts comes out no matter what is going on in their lives. And they have just one goal: to make the customer happy and leave feeling like they have had the best experience of their lives. When they are “on stage”, staff are dedicated to making Disneyland the “the happiest place on earth”.
Another company with a powerful credo is Ritz-Carlton Hotel. According to Vogan, “Every time I’ve stayed at this particular hotel, I leave feeling like I’m a queen and that everyone has genuinely enjoyed serving me. Sounds almost impossible to get employees to treat customers like that, doesn’t it? Here’s their credo: ‘Ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen’…. And to help instil the importance of their credo, every one of the hotel’s employees goes through a two-day training course before they’re allowed to start working in the hotel.”
Vogan says the credo, which is drilled into hotel staff during the training, very simply sums up how staff should think of themselves and their guests. This powerful philosophy, brilliantly expressed in a few short words, has helped make the Ritz-Carlton a huge success. Imagine how much a credo could contribute to the success of your business.
Research confirms that many start-ups have just a few staff members and see no need to set customer service standards in the beginning. Down the road, of course, when they start having problems, they do not know what to do with the staff member who has a bad attitude. However, it is not too late to improve your customer service with a passionate credo.
Now that you know just what a credo is and what it can do to help a business become successful, endeavour to brainstorm together in your organisation, using combination of individual credos of your staff as inspiration to help you develop your own corporate credo. You will be surprised how many brilliant ideas will come from your staff, if given the chance to suggest something. Remember, the most successful businesspeople and corporate leaders are those who are committed to long-term positive change. It is not too late to have a passionate credo for your business today, so that you can record tremendous success this year.
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GOKE ILESANMI, Editor-in-Chief/CEO of https://www.gokeilesanmi.com.ng and Managing Consultant/CEO of Gokmar Communication Consulting, is a Certified Public Speaker/Emcee, (Business) Communication Specialist, Motivational Speaker, Career Management Coach, Renowned Book Reviewer, Corporate Leadership Expert and Editorial Consultant.
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