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Gary Winters

It's All About Leadership

Creator of the Popular

coke-vs-pepsi

In my last post, I offered Seven Simple Rules for Being a Leader. First on the list is: Be a monomaniac on a mission. Let’s take that a little deeper.

Two of the most successful companies on the planet are Coke and Pepsico. They battle one another across the globe for market dominance. As you would expect, they each have mission statements.

Here’s the official statements:

Coke: “to create a growth strategy that allows us to bring good to the world, by refreshing people every day and inspiring them with optimism through our brands and our actions.”

Pepsico: “to be the world’s premier consumer products company focused on convenient foods and beverages, seeking to produce healthy financial rewards to investors as we provide opportunities for growth and enrichment to our employees, our business partners, and the communities in which we operate.”

But here’s how they talk about their mission is real life:

Coke: “Put a can of Coke within arm’s reach of everyone on the planet.”

Pepsi: “Beat Coke.”

Simple stuff. Powerful missions, both. Maybe the battle for world dominion in the sugar water business isn’t your cup of tea (did I really say that?) but you have to admit, they’re both pretty good at what they do.

These organizations are filled with leaders who are monomaniacs on a mission. They are focused. They are purposeful. They look at every thing they do, from recruiting to branding, from marketing to production, with their eyes on one thing: putting a soft drink within arm’s reach of everyone, or beating their rival.

During this Great Recession, as some have called it, the need to be focused on a mission is even more important. I believe it’s imperative for leaders to pause and get anchored in a “recession survival mission” that takes them from here, wherever that is, to there – a return of normalcy and solvency and financial stability.

What’s your mission right now – say, for the next six months? What are you going to be a monomaniac about in the midst of this perfect storm? I suggest thinking about several pervasive questions probably on the minds of everyone in your organization:

  • Are we going to be alright?
  • Will my job be safe?
  • What’s the point of what we do, given the swirling winds around us?
  • Will this organization ever be “normal” again?
  • What’s essential to be doing right now, and what can be put on hold?
  • Can I trust my leader and/or my organization right now?

Your “six month mission,” which might have to stretch into a nine month mission or longer, must be simple, compelling, and true. And, it should go without saying, it must support your long-term mission.

Just as “Beat Coke” sums up “to be the world’s premier consumer products company focused on convenient foods and beverages, seeking to produce healthy financial rewards to investors as we provide opportunities for growth and enrichment to our employees, our business partners, and the communities in which we operate.”

Maybe it’s something like these, which were developed by clients of mine:

“To take advantage of unprecedented challenges to discover unanticipated opportunities.”

“First, we shall do no harm (to the organization and/or team).”

“Face our fears, conquer them, and emerge stronger.”

“Hang together, support one another, and find a way.”

What’s your six month mission? Determine that, and then stayed focused on it, every day, every hour, with each decision you need to make. Make it a rallying cry for your team. Live it, breathe it, bleed and sweat it constantly.

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