Defining your purpose

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We recently took our two young granddaughters to Disney World, specifically into the Magic Kingdom. No matter how many times I visit the house of the mouse, I’m always impressed with the customer service and the hundreds of details that have been orchestrated for only one goal: “To Make People Happy.” That is Disney’s clear and simple vision statement.

To make certain a visit to Disney World does make us happy, it appears that every detail for an enjoyable day has been thought out. Riding through It’s a Small World and spinning in the iconic Tea Cup Ride led me to ask: What about a marine dealership? Should it have a vision statement, too, one that communicates to prospects and customers the heart of the business?

Yes, says blogger Jamey Lutz: “A well-written vision statement is an essential tool for any organization committed to pursuing excellence.” If you don’t have one, perhaps it’s time you did.

He points to other examples we all recognize. Microsoft: Empower people through great software anytime, anyplace and on any device. Ritz-Carlton: To inspire life’s most meaningful journeys. Or Amazon: To be the earth’s most customer-centric company.

Lutz offers some tips for creating a vision statement. For example, keep it concise so it can be easily remembered and repeated. It can also be aspirational in nature. It can define your direction and spell out what you want your dealership team to achieve.

And, speaking of team, it’s very important to make sure the vision inspires the whole team to pursue meeting its goals. It can also provide a strategic roadmap for short- and long-term decisions in all areas of the dealership.

There are well-crafted vision statements everywhere you look in businesses today. But it’s notable that research conducted by Achievers, a provider of employee recognition and engagement solutions, revealed only 3 in 5 employees can articulate the vision established in their companies. That means a number of people in your dealership probably won’t be performing on the vision or modifying their behaviors to align with it.

So, here are some strategies that could motivate and insure your team gets engaged in supporting the vision. First, it’s important to communicate the dealership’s vision and values daily. As one of our iconic motivational speakers, the late Zig Ziglar, often pointed out: “Repetition is the mother of learning and the father of action, which makes it the architect of accomplishment!”

Second, if you want people to embrace the dealership’s vision and core values, find ways to reinforce them daily. Enterprise Rent-A-Car and Zappos, considered excellent examples of good culture-based companies, conduct daily 10-minute huddle meetings that include a focused segment around enlivening their core principles. Other companies reinforce this key message through signs on the office, shop or showroom walls; on business cards; in advertising; and virtually any time the company name appears in print. It means creating a visually appealing design/background for your vision statement. Produce poster-sized images at minimal cost that can be easily be located in common customer and employee areas.

Next, make certain your team leaders are fully engaged. Have them randomly ask their team members to recite the vision statement and articulate what the dealership’s vision means to them on a personal level. As a bonus, incorporate some sort of meaningful acknowledgement for team members that get it, like a simple Starbucks gift card.

Finally, Lutz suggests leveraging the influence of storytelling. One of the best ways to ensure the vision is understood by the whole team is to have a series of stories and best practices that demonstrates the vision in action. A good example comes from Chick-Fil-A that recently introduced The Chicken Wire, a new content section on its website that feature stories of employee contributions to the company’s vision and core values. There are lots of ways to share those kinds of stories with the dealership’s team and customers.

In similar instances, some businesses have instituted recognition programs in which team members are encouraged to share stories of fellow workers who championed the organization’s vision in some meaningful way.

Bottom line: The more your team observes desired behaviors being regularly reinforced, the higher the expectation that they all will align themselves with the dealership’s vision. And that can mean great success with customers and even greater overall success for the dealership.

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