Two recent, seemingly unrelated announcements, within ten days of each other, caused me to take notice last week.
January 26, Apple celebrated the 30th anniversary of the Mac by taking a full page ad in major newspapers saying that when the Mac was released it came with a promise “that the power of technology, taken from the hands of the few and put into the hands of everyone, could change the world.”
Ten days later, CVS, the nation’s largest pharmacy chain and 13th largest company in the world, announced that they will be ending the sale of tobacco products in their stores by October 1, 2014. The pharmacy chain said selling cancer-causing products was incompatible with its overall mission of improving health.
Both announcements underscored the sheer power of a company’s mission statement.
Apple, still the most valuable company in the world, had a very clear mission (NRN, July 2012) when they started the company. Without even knowing that iPhones or iPads were in their future, the company’s mission (read the italics again!) actually anticipated and encompassed both of those products.
The CVS mission is simple “Our businesses help people on their path to better health.” That mission now encompasses not only retail pharmacies, but now, also retail medical clinics. The company now has over 800 MinuteClinics, the most in the U.S., and plans to have over 1500 by 2017.
And, with the Affordable Care Act, CVS has a major growth opportunity with MinuteClinics. Experts have warned that the higher number of insured patients will exacerbate the shortage of primary care physicians. Not surprisingly, MinuteClinics are poised to pick up the slack.
And, because a crucial part of the MinuteClinic expansion strategy involves profitable partnerships with insurers and hospital systems, the presence of tobacco products in CVS is a strike against its credibility as a health care provider.
Mission statement to the rescue– providing CVS with a complete, sensible rationale to shareholders for giving up the $2 billion in tobacco sales. Why give up that $2 billion now? Because the future revenue growth for CVS, is to continue to give their customers “better health”, albeit now as a health care provider as well as retailer of products.
As for Apple, their mission statement continues to perform. Their ad goes on to say “Today we create, share and learn in ways that were unimaginable 30 years ago…Imagine what we can accomplish in the next 30 years.” Using the same mission statement from 30 years ago as their guide!
CVS and Apple are great examples of timeless mission statements that work for them year after year.
What is your company’s mission statement? Can you begin to imagine what you will accomplish 30 years from now (and the revenues that will result) using your current mission statement? If not, it may be time to revisit whether your mission statement is truly allowing your company to reach its potential.