Hempy: The Importance of a Mission Statement (Lessons from Larry Dahl)

April 1, 2024
In his debut column for NOLN, Oilstop CEO Scott Hempy explains the importance of purpose in service.

Most mission statements live only on the wall of an office. At most businesses, the mission statement has not been incorporated into daily actions and found its way into the hearts and minds of the team.

This reality is sobering given the positive impact of a thriving and intentional mission statement. When done right, your mission statement can be a north star for your team, directing and aligning the team around why everyone shows up to work.

One of the most amazing benefits of joining a team and company that has been in business for 35 years, is the rich legacy and culture that has been developed and cultivated over time. Oilstop’s founder, Larry Dahl built a company that I admire in countless ways.

The most significant legacy that Larry left our company was a mission statement that guides our actions and a team that believes in and serves out our mission statement on a daily basis.

“We will serve people with excellence, humbly, with a servant’s heart” is our mission statement at Oilstop. This statement gives our team guidance for how to approach every guest whose oil we change (with excellence, humbly, and with a servant’s heart), and aligns us all towards why we show up to work each dayto serve people! It’s simple, clear and easy to remember.

At Oilstop, we’ve discovered a few simple ways to put a mission statement into practice to share.

Whether you have a mission statement today or not, spend time with your team and leaders to discuss why you all show up to work each day. The reason why your team comes to work each day must align with the mission statement of the company. Creating or reinforcing this common mission from those discussions ensures the team feels bought in to and aligned to your mission statement.

The task of writing your mission statement is the easy part. Living by it and incorporating it into your daily actions is much harder. Find daily moments to remind team members of your mission and bring up your mission in store meetings, team calls, vendor calls, and anytime you can. This reinforces your mission statement and makes it a part of your team’s daily decision making.

If you aren’t talking about your mission statement, you won’t get the benefits of being a mission driven company. As your mission statement becomes a part of daily decisions of the team, delegation becomes easier and trust and empowerment is built.

At Oilstop, we require all prospective new hires to memorize our mission statement and won’t hire a candidate if they fail to do so. It’s short and not hard to memorize, but this shows our newest team members how seriously we take our mission statement at Oilstop. This also ensures no team member is surprised by our common company mission once they join the team.

Another way to put a mission statement into practice is to reward behavior that reflects the mission statement. At Oilstop, we celebrate team members that live out our mission every month. Each store selects one team member to be their “Most Excellent Servant” and we pay them a $50 cash award.

We also celebrate alignment to our mission statement during our annual company awards. For our team members who best demonstrated our mission statement each year, we award all-expense-paid trips to Hawaii. Celebrating and rewarding the team members at your company living out your mission statement reinforces the priority of your mission statement.

A mission statement also gives clarity to what you are building towards. At Oilstop, we are excited about expanding our mission statement by expanding our footprint of stores. As we grow and add new stores to our company, we have the opportunity to serve more guests and team members with our mission statement. If you are interested in joining our mission at Oilstop or want to talk more about how to put your mission statement into practice, please reach out to me at [email protected]

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