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Ideas@Work! - Strategies for Success

March 7, 2006

In this issue...
Point to Ponder
March Makes A Difference!
Each Life a Legacy - The Legend begins with you!
Add these to your success library
Last minute notes and thoughts
Thanks for reading this issue...

Point to Ponder

"We seek not to imitate the masters; rather we seek what they sought." The Walt Disney Company

SO... What is your mission in life? In business?

When you walk into many companies, you'll see well intentioned mission or vision statements on their walls espousing the "value of teamwork", their "employees are their most valuable assets", and a "commitment to their customers".  All great sounding phrases or sentiments.

Unfortunately, for too many, they are simply posters on the wall and not embedded commitments in the hearts and minds of their leaders and employees. In fact, if you ask many of their employees to share their company mission statement, you'll find confusion and halfhearted attempts to remember and restate them.

There are some misconceptions and misuse around these two statements. "Vision" implies how you see yourself, and "Mission" implies a commitment to action. Both are important!

How you "see" yourself (yourself or your organizational image) will impact how you act or interconnect with your co-workers or clients. It also impacts how confidently you take action in your marketplace. Your commitment to act will set you apart from your competition. It will also focus your energies in better serving your customers and build long-term, more mutually profitable relationships.

Mission statements are important - when they work!

  • They work when they provide a visual reminder of what the leadership and the whole team is committed to creating.
  • They work when they are embedded in the minds and hearts of the team.
  • They work when they are modeled in the lifestyles and interactions with both internal and external customers.
  • They work when they are taken off the posters and planted in the minds and hearts of all who come in contact with you.
  • They work when they are in-line with your core values and when you have generated buy-in with your team in making them work in the real world.

Your purpose for 'being' and for 'growing' your career or business is encapsulated in their brevity. They can be formal or informal, but they need to be real. They need to be relevant.

You may also have statements for different aspects of your career or business. For example Toyota Motor Corporation (the world's greatest manufacturer) has one to underscore their commitment to taking responsibility for their own successes and failures. "We strive to decide our own fate. We act with self-reliance, trusting in our own abilities. We accept responsibility for our conduct and for maintaining and improving the skills that enable us to produce added value." (Toyota Way 2001)

Successful companies seek to better themselves and to learn from other successful companies, as stated above by The Walt Disney Company.

Here are a few examples of "Mission Statements" gleaned from successful organizations for your consideration and comparisons:

"To make money and have fun."  W.L. Gore and Associates

The Girl Scouts of America dedicate themselves "to the purpose of inspiring girls with the highest ideals of character, conduct, patriotism, and service that they may become happy and resourceful citizens."

At Quality Inns,  their vision is "to pursue excellence and become the most recognized, respected, and admired lodging chain in the world." 

Fetzer Vineyards, one of the biggest and best known wineries in the USA, developed a mission statement that included their commitment to the environment and the community. "We are an environmentally and socially conscious grower, producer and marketer of wines of the highest quality and value."

According to Levi Strauss & Company their mission provides daily inspiration. "Above all we want satisfaction from accomplishments and friendships, balanced personal and professional lives, and to have fun in our endeavors."

Colgate-Palmolive is a leader in providing consumer products and services that meet or exceed customer needs and expectations worldwide. "Our mission," they proudly proclaim to the world, "is to improve continuously our products and services so that our Company, our people, our business partners, and our shareholders will grow and prosper, enabling us to become the best global products company."

What's yours?

  • Does it excite you and your team?
  • Does it drive your passion to serve?
  • Does it serve as a moral compass or directional guide for everyone on your team?

Charles Garfield writes, "Mission is an image of desired affairs that inspires action, determines behavior, and fuels motivation." 

  • Does yours inspire you?
  • Does it inspire your team to want to win?
  • Does it inspire trust in the minds of your customers?
  • Does it ring true and is it relevant to your business?

Many of you are already committed to creating a solid and successful career. Some of you successfully lead teams and have your own organizations. I applaud your dedication in these worthy goals.

My commitment (mission statement) in creating this monthly e-zine, as in everything I do, is to help equip and motivate you, your leaders, and your employees to win; to help you visualize your growth and success and, then, to surpass it and amaze yourselves and your families. To say nothing of out-pacing, out-thinking and out-lasting your competitors!

Buck Rogers of IBM fame, once said, "The first thing you must do to become a great organization is to spell out in writing your beliefs and purpose. Write a credo that will be a behavioral guide to every person in your company, from entry-level positions to CEO. This creed, once thought out and formalized, should become as much a part of the company's operation as its product, service, or policies."

One hint: The mission statement must be something that creates 'solid buy-in' on all levels and not just something cooked up in the executive board room. Not engaging everyone in making it relevant and memorable is a recipe for failure.

In addition to organizational statements, I believe each of us needs at least two more focused mission statements:

1) A personal one to help us define and direct who we are, what we value, what legacy we want to leave, and who we want to become; and

2) A professional one to help us define and direct what we do in the market place, what we bring to our professional roles, what we invest in our professional development, and most importantly what we are committed to in serving our customers and helping our organizations remain productive, profitable and competitive in the 21st Century.

Life can be challenging and business even more so. Having a mission statement that resonates with your values will help you succeed. By living it, your mission statement can help set you apart from your competition. It can also attract the customers who will become your fans and champions in building your career and business.

Kenneth T. Wessner, ServiceMaster Chairman of the Board stated it best, "Our company philosophy is expressed in four objectives. These four statements are the foundation upon which everything we do is built.

  • To honor God in all we do.
  • To help people develop.
  • To pursue excellence.
  • To grow profitably.

For the people of ServiceMaster, their work is not merely the making of a living, it is a way of life." 

It is also making a difference from my perspective, and from my personal mission statement. Have a great month and may March be a "Make a Difference" month for you and your team.

©Copyright 2006 Bob 'Idea Man' Hooey


March Makes A Difference!

"Only a clear definition of the mission and purpose of the business makes possible clear and realistic objectives.

It is the foundation for priorities, strategies, plans, and work assignments.

It is the starting point for the design of managerial jobs and, above all, for the design of managerial structures."

Peter Drucker

  • What is driving you and your team?
  • What is your defined purpose and strategic mission as an organization?
  • What are you doing to engage and motivate your team to win?
  • What are you doing to equip yourself and your team to win?

Funny how some non-structured time in the sun with a good book allows your mind to wander and wonder. Amazing how the warmth and sea air can stimulate your imagination and your ability to dream. March is the end of your 1st quarter and a good time to pause and reflect on how you and/or your team are actually doing. Remember those goals you set late last year or early this year?

I found myself rethinking 'what I do' and 'why I do it' on a recent trip to Cancun. I had a wonderful time addressing the dealer/owners of a Canadian National Tire Chain. (I have included some brief remarks to them for your reading this month.)

They were very receptive and open to challenge their own experiences and to revisit 'why'  and 'what' they were doing. This, I believe, is the beginning of building strong, long-term foundations for profitable success under any organization. I hope my time with them will lead to additional opportunities to serve them and work with their organization. They are a great team of people!

From personal experience, having a "strongly defined," visual image of your purpose and a strategic mission of what you do will keep you focused. It will also keep you fired up and excited about your business and career. It will help you ride the tough times and challenges that come with everyday life and modern day business.

My challenge for you is to take a minute... ok, 15 minutes, and take a serious look at what you are doing.

Ask yourself,

  • Why you are doing it?
  • What real value do you bring to your industry, market, and clients?
  • What are you willing to change to make it better, more attractive, and value-added to your team and your customers?

Bob 'Idea Man' Hooey

PS: My personal (separate from my professional one) mission statement includes scheduling some winter 'Sun Time' to recharge my batteries, have fun, and relax on occasion. Even nicer when I can combine it with the work that I love. (Just came in from plowing about 2 feet of snow off my driveway. Gee, what a difference a week makes.)

This picture was taken on a Cancun beach following my presentation a week or so back. You'll notice I'm actually reading a 'business' book. Ok, for me that is not a stretch, as I'm always reading something to learn or challenge my mind.

This particular book is "Flight Path" which is the inside story of how Canada's Westjet was launched and has continued to rise above their competition. I'd recommend it for any serious leaders and entrepreneurs who want to lead their teams to greater success. (Click on the 'Title' link to check it out.)


If you are new to our Ideas At Work! family, welcome aboard. You can jump ahead to the articles if you have already read this introductory note.

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Each Life a Legacy - The Legend begins with you!


Our life and work are a portrait of who we are - autograph them both with style!

The tapestry of our lives is inter-woven with the lives of those we connect with on a daily basis. Whether we realize it or not, our life leaves behind a legacy and creates a legend. The stories of our involvements and activities become a living legend. People will talk about you - so why not give them something positive to say? J

These two words (Legacy and Legend) can become intertwined in our lives and work.

People we know, work, or live with, have a lasting impression based on their personal experience with us. Why is it then that we wait until they are gone or have moved on to acknowledge the important people in our life? Life is a continuous choice.

I live in the country north-east of Edmonton, Alberta. It is a quiet, rustic, creative type of life. I love being able to work on my writing, marketing and prepare for my speaking engagements in this slower, more picturesque setting. It has been a great move, other than the odd 6AM flight somewhere. J It can be a challenge digging out my driveway on occassion as well.

As I drive some of the rural roads, I see scenes like this along the way. I drive past dilapidated, boarded-up buildings, stores, gas stations, and repair shops that once housed thriving businesses, entrepreneurial dreams that profitably served their communities and customers.

I wonder, what happened?

  • Did the business thrive and move to a better location?
  • Did they neglect their customers?
  • Did it miss the changes in customer needs and slowly die?
  • Did their competition do a better job?
  • Did they fall behind in technology?
  • Did their customers desert them?
  • What makes the difference? Hmmm

I see thriving, prosperous businesses, too, in attractive, spruced-up, well-lit buildings; well-stocked and open for business to serve both their clients and their communities.

I also see homes previously inhabited by families with dreams of building a life together. Houses left to fall apart, torn and worn by the winds and the rain. Houses left to the elements when the people who lived there moved on.

I wonder, what happened?

Yet, I also see some older homes, lovingly cared for, remodelled, passed on from family-to-family, still vibrant with life. What makes the difference, I wonder?

What legend is being told of you and your team every day?

  • When you're done at your work, what legend would you like to leave behind?
  • What are they saying about you right now?
  • What picture would you like your team, your customers and the community to remember about your contributions and work here?

What would be the 'ultimate' comment or testimonial on your life, work, and contributions in pioneering and living life as an adventure? The Legend begins.

Why not choose to leave a lasting legacy and to create a dynamic legend that has contributed in a positive way?

Once we understand that we actually leave a legacy and a legend behind, we can make a conscious choice to ensure it is a positive one. We can choose to invest our time, resources, and energies in those activities and organizations that create lasting value, as well as in the lives of those we love and respect.

As leaders and business owners, we have that opportunity to invest in the lives of those we lead. This investment can leave a lasting legend or legacy in their lives and the lives of those they touch.

My parents both passed away in 1999, leaving a big hole in the lives of my sister and myself. More importantly, Mom and Dad left a legacy of love and commitment to community service that has been ingrained in our lives. Their legend lives on in our lives and in the stories and conversations I now share.

Acknowledging the accomplishments and contributions of those around us!

Over the years, I've learned that people too often die 'unacknowledged', under-valued, and unappreciated. This is one of the biggest losses in our rich culture and legacy as a nation. This is also the biggest loss in the changing tapestry of any living organization or group. We have people who have made an impact in our lives, who have made a genuine difference.

However, they don't know - because we never told them! Resolve to tell people now. Tell them often how important they are in your life and where they have made a difference! Share their legend. It can be the most valuable gift you can give them. This can be such a wonderful legacy as a leader - to tell your people now how you appreciate them and to share positive encouragement as they seek to grow in their respective roles.

Investing in the lives of others can be our best legacy!  Let them tell your story!

I've often heard, "you can't take it with you!" Interesting thought! This is true. When we pass away, we leave everything we 'once held' important behind.

I've yet to see a hearse pulling a u-haul trailer.J When we take leadership with our time and resources, we invest them in the lives of people we want to help now.

Think of each person who has invested in your life and your success to date. Some have passed away and some have moved on to different roles and careers. Their investment in you is still paying dividends, as you continue to grow and pass on what they taught you. You have been given an opportunity to pass it forward to your team and customers. Share their legends or stories with your employees. The most important activity and use of time is investing in our team for their success. Your gift, as a leader, is based on equipping them to win. As owners, this is your best gift!

Realize the impact you have and choose to make it a positive and dynamic one!

We make an impact on the lives of others each day and in each encounter we have with them. We have an impact on people who we may not even know. The legend begins... as people tell 'our' stories. Like the ripples on a lake that bounce off each other, we do have an impact and we can change the patterns of those we connect with, as do they who connect with us.

One of the most decisive and productive decisions I made was to ensure my life makes a difference, to leave behind a positive legacy. To leave a legend of empowered and encouraged people, audiences, readers, and family and friends who know I loved and cared enough to give my very best. Who know I believed in them and prayed for their success in life! Ensuring my words, both written and verbal, were based in truth, delivered in love, and focused on enhancing the positive opportunities in life. A positive legend.

Thank you for investing your time today and allowing me to be a part of your on-going legend and legacy.

I'd like to thank you in advance for deciding to make your life, your work, and your community involvement a 'living legend,' and for deciding to leave a positive legacy.

Note: This is part of what I recently shared with OK Tire Dealers from across Canada during their conference in Cancun. What a warm reception and what a great group of people. I made some new friends and had a chance to meet and chat with their incoming President, Greg Sims. Laurie Harvey and her conference team did an outstanding job to ensure their dealers and families were well taken care of... and their speakers too. Thanks so much!

© 2006 Bob 'Idea Man' Hooey All rights reserved.


Add these to your success library

As promised here are a few selections from my success library. I encourage you to check them out for yourself.  Good reading.

Generating Buy In

Powerful Conversations

Off the Cuff

You may want to order 'Flight Path' as well. I've created a live link above so you can do that.

Remember for the leading edge professional, school is never out. If you invest just 15 minutes a day in strategic reading you will easily pass and lead your competitors. You will become more productive and profitable too!


Last minute notes and thoughts

Well, it looks like March 2006 is going to be a very busy and productive month. Yahoo!

I'm continuing pulling in articles from guest authors for our "Laura's Hope" fundraising e-anthology: "Quantum Success!"

I am humbled to be the creative lead in putting together a collection of writing that will help give your leadership, career and company a quantum leap to the next level. Some of North America's top experts have volunteered their wisdom for your reading and reflection.

I've started the background interviews and research for the new 'internal' customer service/teamwork book I've been commissioned to write for one of Canada's 50 Best Managed Companies.

We hope to have it completed and out to each of their 6000 plus team members later this spring. It is a part of a 3 year customer service (intrernal and external) teamwork campaign and will have e-book and audio/MP3 versions to support the print version. This will be a fun project as it develops and will be updated each successive year. I'm enjoying my time interviewing their leaders, in learning about their interaction and interconnection, in hearing about their challenges and their successes. I am going deeper in my understanding of how their innovative, 'visionary' founder and his amazing team created this billion dollar retail, industry leader and where they will continue to grow and succeed in the future.

I'm going to speaking a bit about leadership and creativity at the University of Lethbridge during the March 24th weekend. Former Olympic Skier and Crazy Canuck, Jungle Jim Hunter will also be on the program. That should be a great weekend as well. Thanks to a Toastmasters' friend and UofL student who suggested me for their program.

Other than that, I think I will be sitting in front of a computer screen quite a bit over the next couple of months.J That will be a productive use of my time and investment in growing my business, honing my writing skills, and in better serving my clients.

PS: I just had to include this picture of myself on a Wave Runner (Jet Ski).J Part of my 'personal' mission statement is to try new things and experiences, to push myself past my comfort zone. A week or so back, I had the opportunity to take to the ocean in Cancun. WOW! These babies can move and according to some of my fellow guests, I definitely got some 'air time' when I launched myself across some larger swells. Wow!!!!


Thanks for reading this issue...

Thank you for reading this issue of 'Ideas@Work! - Strategies for Success'. We know your time is valuable and our commitment is to make sure each issue has some solid value for you and your team. We are committed to helping you and your team profitably move to the next level.

Bob 'Idea Man' Hooey would be pleased to be a part of your success team and to work with you for your conference, meeting or training event. For more information about customized keynotes, professional/personal leadership training and coaching, seminars/retreats, please visit or call our Creative Office at: (780) 736-0009

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