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For millennia, sailors have navigated by using the North Star. While the heavenly constellations vary from season to season and your specific location on the earth, Polaris is positioned almost directly over the celestial North Pole and appears to remain constant no matter where you are.
Even though GPS has made modern navigation dramatically easier, the North Star still serves as a reference point because of its fixed position in the heavens.
Businesses have adopted the idea of a “North Star” as a set of beliefs and practices that help a company navigate through the unknown waters of their market. Commonly known as a company’s Mission, Vision and Values statements, the MVV defines what a company does, why they do it and how they accomplish their goals.
Heading into 2023 and facing headwinds not encountered in the real estate industry for decades, we are facing an opportunity to discover if our stated North Star (Mission, Vision and Values) will effectively guide us through the unknown waters ahead.
At the head of every North Star is a captivating mission statement that describes what the company does. It should be clear and concise. Some great examples are:
- Starbucks: “To inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time.”
- Coca-Cola: “To refresh the world…To inspire moments of optimism and happiness…To create value and make a difference.”
- Walmart: “We save people money so they can live better.”
- P&G: “We will provide branded products and services of superior quality and value that improve the lives of the world’s consumers.”
- American Red Cross: “To prevent and alleviate human suffering in the face of emergencies by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors.”
- Tripadvisor: “To help people around the world plan and have the perfect trip.”
Following the Mission Statement is the vision statement. Often confused, the vision is different from the mission in that it explains where a company desires to go and the future that will exist if the mission is accomplished. Put succinctly, the mission focuses on what is happening today, the vision paints a picture of a desired future. Some great examples are:
- Tesla: “To create the most compelling car company of the 21st century by driving the world’s transition to electric vehicles.”
- Amazon: “To be Earth’s most customer-centric company, where customers can find and discover anything they might want to buy online.”
- GoDaddy: “Our vision is to radically shift the global economy towards independent entrepreneurial ventures.”
- Toyota USA: “To be the most successful and respected car company in America.”
- Samsung: “To inspire the world with our innovative technologies, products and design that enrich people’s lives and contribute to social prosperity by creating a new future.”
- Nike: “To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world.”
While the mission provides an explanation of the company’s operations and the vision projects the anticipated future, it is the values that provide the operating system that governs day-to-day business practices and determines the organization’s culture and ethos.
The values should outline the desired outcomes of daily operations and, in effect, be the rails the organization rides upon. The more clearly defined the rails, the better the business can run and the easier it is to see if the company’s culture matches its stated objectives.
In real estate, the values should outline the anticipated behaviors of those who are in the organization in relationship to those looking to buy or sell homes. They should, if adhered to, provide the pathway to accomplishing the mission and vision.
Values will differ from company to company, team to team and agent to agent. Here are examples of values taken from real estate teams:
Unparalleled real estate experiences flow from a passion for excellence in every aspect. We are committed to providing the absolute highest level of professionalism, customer service and technological expertise. We choose to intentionally and actively set the bar for our industry for excellence in every area of this business. We understand that this is not convenient. We choose to act proactively, not passively.
Integrity is a lifestyle lived without compromise. We choose to model integrity in every facet of our business, not only in relationship to our clients, but to other industry professionals and our team. We choose to do the right thing even if it is the difficult thing, and we commit to ensuring that our clients emerge whole in their dealings with us.
Mediocrity is the bane of customer service and we choose to avoid it at all costs. We commit to continuously disrupt mediocrity as it appears. In order to transform clients into raving fans, we continuously seek optimum solutions and experiences in every aspect of our business.
We are not content to live in the status quo: We choose to actively seek innovation in every area of our business in order to provide cutting-edge experiences not only for our clients but everyone who encounters our team in any way.
We operate from a place of contribution, not taking. We seek to give as we can to meet the needs of those we encounter. Whether finances, knowledge or our experience, we seek to make the lives of those we encounter better for having met us. Additionally, we seek to actively give to meet the needs of those who need fresh starts in life.
There is no “I” or “WIIFM” in this team, in our client consultations or in our affiliated business relationships. We diligently commit to support, engage and remain devoted to each member collectively and individually.
We promote and communicate the same advantages to our clients, always seeking to work in concert with each other and towards a mutually beneficial win while consistently representing our client’s best interests.
Be grace biased
Grace is extending favor and preference despite what might be deserved because of unwanted behaviors or unwanted outcomes. As we are all human and therefore fallible, extending an understanding heart and forgiving spirit is refreshing and needed in all circumstances. As we extend grace, our goal is that difficult people and/or circumstances will respond towards positive and peaceful outcomes.
Be transparent and authentic
In a world known for false fronts and pretense, we choose to be genuine in all our interactions. We value open and honest communication on all levels. We seek to be fully aware of our flaws (both personally and as a team) and strive constantly to be open and receptive to positive correction.
As fiduciaries, we place our clients’ needs above our personal wants. We choose to represent our clients to the best of our ability, utilizing our professional knowledge, skills, passion and assertiveness to effectively achieve optimum results.
Always seek to grow, to improve, to gain state-of-the-art knowledge that enriches, provides perspective, develops passion and constantly propels forward.
Seek win-win solutions
Everyone wins or no deal. We do not “win” over the other side, we empower all to provide the best solutions with the goal of building meaningful long-term relationships with all parties involved.
As personalities differ from one entity to another, the values will change as well. Those shown above are examples of what typical values can look like. Whereas mission and vision statements need to be concise, values can be more expressive and provide more detail.
Once the Mission, Vision and Values have been developed, they need to be proudly displayed and promoted so they can work their way into the hearts of everyone in the organizations. One quick and effective way to evaluate any member of the organization is to assess their behavior in light of the stated values.
As an example, the value “Be Grace Biased” is taken from our team’s MVV: If we see a person on our team who is being ungraceful to team members, clients, agents from other companies or service providers, we know immediately that the person is out of culture and, if they are not willing to change, will no longer have a place on the team.
Heading into 2023, your MVV should be the North Star that helps you navigate the troubled waters ahead. Take the time to evaluate your current MVV, make corrections as needed and then proclaim relentlessly to make sure your entire organization is on the same page.