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Key Idea: Make Your Mission Statement Inspirational

Anne Beiler's mission is to be a guiding LIGHT for her employees and franchisees.   More...

Key Question:

A: 

Be mission-driven just like Anne Beiler and her husband, Jonas.

Q: Why LIGHT as the mission statement and why does it work?

A: Mission statements are plastic, even transparent; and most are too long. Anne told us that the company's first mission statement was several paragraphs. Later she decided that it should be a useful tool -- a mission statement should be easy to remember. A team of people at Auntie Anne's came up with the acrostic they use today.

The word, LIGHT, is a working philosophy for Auntie Anne's and it feels bigger than a mission statement. That is a good thing. The bigger you can ask a person to think, the bigger they will act.

"L" stands for lead by example. This statement disqualifies any person who is talking all the time, right? A leader at Auntie Anne's was a doer and can still do all the jobs if necessary. A leader at Auntie Anne's doesn't tell a person to be nice, the leader is nice. Lead by example is a goal that is never fully achieved. Anne is asking leaders to keep working on themselves as she is continually working on herself.

"I" stands for invest in others. Invest to us sounds like long-range thinking. Invest implies teach, coach, nurture, love and care deeply about the other person. This is hard too!

"G" stands for give freely. Go back and read what we said here about why Gordon Gekko¹ needs a dog. Selfish people have rotten lives. Generous people have lush, rich, lavish lives. Anne is wise to permeate the organization with such a challenge.

"H" stands for honor God. This is a religious statement. The company lays it's heart open for examination. Fine. If you don't believe in God and if you don't want to honor God, then you don't belong at Auntie Anne's. Every company should be this clear about its underlying belief systems.

"T" stands for treat others with respect. We see this at every great company we study and it is a required way of thinking for any entrepreneur or leader. If you want people to follow you down a path to achievement, those people must sense that you respect what they are bringing to the journey.

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¹ In the movie Wall Street', Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas) calmly says, "Greed is good.  If you need a friend, get a dog."

Think about it

Should your mission statement be shorter? More to the point? More beliefs oriented than action oriented?
 

Clip from: Auntie Annes Pretzels

Anne Beiler says that everyone is teachable and lovable.

Gap, Pennsylvania:   An angel investor stood by her while bank after bank turned her down because the purpose of this business was to make money then give it away.

Meet Anne Beiler, founder f Auntie Anne's Pretzels.  Anne's generous spirit is infused throughout this company and it is their secret ingredient.  Anne has proven that her franchisees want to run a business built on love. While most franchise companies have to market to find new owners, Anne has to turn away hundreds who want to buy into her concept. Products topped with her love of people make Anne Beiler a leadership example to follow.

In 1988 Anne Beiler turned a mistake into a new product. Today, Auntie Anne's Hand-Rolled Soft Pretzels are baked fresh in over 800 locations and are the perfect high carbohydrate, low-fat, back-to-the-basics snack so many people crave. Customers will part with over $500 million a year to enjoy this hot treat.

So now, we travel out to Gap in Pennsylvania's Amish Country; it is a simpler place. And though it may be an unlikely place to be running a fast-growing business, maybe there are lessons here for all of us in these hostile times.  This business is based on love and on giving. This is the American Dream. It has come alive for all the right reasons.

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Auntie Anne's Inc.

Anne Beiler, Founder

160-A Route 41
Gap, PA 17527
717-435-1610

Visit our web site: http://www.auntieannes.com/

Office: 717-435-1610

Business Classification:
Retail

Year Founded: 1988

Make Your Mission Statement Inspirational

HATTIE: The future is full of more pretzels and more wow products, like Cre-amo, a frozen custard delight that I got to taste. So, yeah, I want to taste it.

ANNE: OK. I'll let you taste it.

HATTIE: OK.

ANNE: You like peach? Pretty good, huh?

HATTIE: It's wonderful. OK. More good stuff from Auntie Anne's.

ANNE: Yeah.

HATTIE: When did you come up with LIGHT?

ANNE: LIGHT.

HATTIE: What is it? What does it mean? And how do you use it to guide you and motivate the whole team to go in the right direction?

ANNE: Well, LIGHT. We had a mission statement and it was cumbersome. We decided that, why don't we do something to where that everybody can memorize our purpose? What is our purpose? And I've always said that my purpose, I feel like our purpose, Auntie Anne's, is to be a light in a business community. And so we sat around the table. This was at the time when I was still part of the management team, and we came up with the acrostic LIGHT, L-I-G-H-T, and this came from the employees so we all put the ideas altogether and this is what they came up with.

So I think it's just the greatest thing. L is LEAD by example. I is INVEST in others. G is GIVE freely. H - HONOR God. And T is TREAT all business contacts with respect or treat all people with respect. So it's very easy, and it's very catching. The franchisees, many of them use it, and how we use it, you know, in our decision-making process is everything that--it goes through this grid. Does this fit with our statement and purpose of LIGHT? So every decision we make, we try to make sure that it--

HATTIE: Filters through.

ANNE: Yes.

HATTIE: It has to pass the LIGHT test.

ANNE: Exactly. There you go. You're exactly right. You know, after 15 years, I still like Auntie Anne's Pretzels. Can you believe that? Oh, it's absolutely a miracle. There's no other word that I can describe that because I've had people tell me early on that, 'You shouldn't be doing this.' I mean, I understand I shouldn't be, but I am. I'm still amazed. I mean, every day, honestly, if you know my life, you understand where I came from, you will have to admit this is a miracle.

HATTIE: Building a business that can be passed to new leadership to carry forward is nearly impossible. Anne's done it, and we agree with her that making money is too small of a goal to be attractive to most people. Find a big idea, a big purpose, a perfect product and people. Then profits will follow. I'll see you next time.

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