As I review mission, vision and values statements of various companies, whether well known or not, I find a lot of great and not-so-great examples of how "Guiding Statements" should be both created and made accessible. The focus of this review of Guiding Statements is the drug store chain, Rite Aid*.
Rite Aid currently ranks 107 on the Fortune 500 list, but if you filter for growth in profits, they are ranked 2nd, with a year-over-year profit growth of more than 23,000%. Obviously, for such a large company, such growth involves moving figures around and playing with numbers, but I am not going to address that. Suffice to say that Rite Aid did not simply sell 23,000% more products this year than last.
That said, here are Rite Aid's Guiding Statements (found at www.riteaid.com/about-us/mission-statement), with commentary:
To improve the health and wellness of our communities through engaging experiences that provide our customers with the best products, services and advice to meet their unique needs.
Customers confidently choose us first for their everyday health and wellness needs because we consistently understand and exceed their expectations.
Passion For Our Customers, Caring Neighbors, Associate Development, Respect, Commitment to Diversity, Winning Through Teamwork, Accountability, Integrity In All We Do, Value for our Stakeholders
Kudos to Rite Aid. First of all, these statements are easily found in the expected spot on their website under "About Us." Rite Aid has a clearly labeled option, "Core Values & Mission Statement."
Secondly, Rite Aid introduces its Guiding Statements by explaining the purpose of each: The Vision Statement is "What we aspire to be," the Mission Statement is "Our plan to get there," and the CORE Values are the "Principles that guide us."
The Best Thing
Not only do I love how Rite Aid has clearly described the purpose of each statement, it has also kept the statements brief and made them easily accessible. Additionally, Rite Aid has added a brief, one- to two-sentence description for most of their CORE Values to elaborate on why they are so important.
When an associate, a store manager, a district director or a corporate executive faces an unfamiliar decision, the list of values on the company website serves as a perfect guide to filter out bad options while supporting those most important to the corporation:
- A customer needs extra help that will require more time than usual: The principles, "Caring for neighbors" and "Passion for our customers" mean the associate will spend the time necessary to meet the customer's needs. The associate knows his or her manager will appreciate how the associate values the customer.
- A store associate struggles to reach expected goals and satisfy expectations: The principle of "Associate development" tells the store manager that the organization supports personal growth and achievement, so additional training and motivation should be considered.
- An under-served neighborhood lacks access to the products and services Rite Aid provides: The principles of "Respect" and "Commitment to Diversity" inspire the district director and executives to invest in the community with a store that carries products specifically in demand by the local population.
Identifying each statement by purpose clearly tells all Rite Aid stakeholders and visitors what Rite Aid aspires to become, how they plan to do it, and the beliefs upon which the company will achieve its plan.
The Mission Statement, rather than being a static "Here is why we exist" description, tells all page visitors how the company plans to achieve its vision. Rite Aid's mission plan is forward looking. Nothing says complacency like "resting on your laurels." This mission statement has no hint of looking to the past. It is all about the future and what the company plans to do for its customers.
I am not going to say that Rite Aid gets everything right or assume that its employees and management have these guiding statements memorized. It would be naive to believe the staff and stakeholders think about these statements regularly.
Still, after Rite Aid developed such clear guides to how the business should be run, I will hope that the company incorporates these statements into its regular, day-to-day business activities. If it does not do so already, placing a list of its CORE Values on letterhead (on the side or as a watermark) will keep the principles front and center. Highlighting a CORE Value each month through its email signature or on a company blog or an internal newsletter could also prove helpful to placing the principles front and center in the minds of the organization's stakeholders.
There is no agreement or understanding between Todd R. Christensen Consulting and the company this review focuses on. There has been and will be no compensation or other consideration exchanged. This review is for educational purposes only and should not be considered an endorsement of the company's products or services.