Blog Post
Mantras: Meaningless Words Without Support
They have threads of woo, magic and mindfulness in themโ€ฆ.
by Ed Murphy
“Leaders must embrace the mantraโ€™s true spirit and inspire employees to live by its decisions and actions.”

๐Ÿ”ฆThereโ€™s a lot of focus on mantras latelyโ€ฆ๐Ÿ”ฆ


They have threads of woo, magic and mindfulness in themโ€ฆ.
They remind employees of the companyโ€™s role and guide their decisions, includingโ€”most importantlyโ€”what they are not.

๐–๐ž ๐š๐ซ๐ž ๐ฅ๐š๐๐ข๐ž๐ฌ ๐š๐ง๐ ๐ ๐ž๐ง๐ญ๐ฅ๐ž๐ฆ๐š๐ง ๐ฌ๐ž๐ซ๐ฏ๐ข๐ง๐  ๐ฅ๐š๐๐ข๐ž๐ฌ ๐š๐ง๐ ๐ ๐ž๐ง๐ญ๐ฅ๐ž๐ฆ๐š๐ง โ€“ Ritz Carlton
Horst Schulze wrote this as part of an essay at age 16 and explains it as โ€œIf we are doing an excellent job, a first-class job, we are respected by the employee, and we define ourselves by being excellent as ladies and gentlemen.โ€ And with that motto, I started Ritz-Carlton, and I said right from the beginning, youโ€™re not servants. Day one I said, โ€œWe are not servants. We are ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen. Unless we sentence ourselves to be less, to be servants. Thatโ€™s in our hands.โ€ (As reported in Chief Executive)

๐“๐ก๐ข๐ง๐ค ๐ƒ๐ข๐Ÿ๐Ÿ๐ž๐ซ๐ž๐ง๐ญ โ€“ Apple
A tagline or slogan outside Apple, but inside Apple, a powerful mantra that set the stage for a culture that created new market space, generated new demand and made Apple one of the most admired and valuable brands today.

๐๐จ๐ฐ๐ž๐ซ๐ž๐ ๐›๐ฒ ๐’๐ž๐ซ๐ฏ๐ข๐œ๐ž โ€“ Zappos
As with Apple, Zappos’s mantra drives meaning and value to customers and employees, capturing the importance of service. Employees have a clear understanding of the strategy and their direct or indirect impact on the overall customer experience.


โš ๏ธBut hereโ€™s the problem with a mantra.

๐ˆ๐ญโ€™๐ฌ ๐š๐ฅ๐ฅ ๐š๐›๐จ๐ฎ๐ญ ๐๐ž๐ฅ๐ข๐ž๐Ÿ ๐š๐ง๐ ๐ง๐จ๐ญ ๐ฆ๐ฎ๐œ๐ก ๐š๐›๐จ๐ฎ๐ญ ๐๐ž๐ก๐š๐ฏ๐ข๐จ๐ซ.โš ๏ธ

๐…๐จ๐ซ ๐š ๐ฆ๐š๐ง๐ญ๐ซ๐š ๐ญ๐จ ๐๐ซ๐ข๐ฏ๐ž ๐š๐œ๐ญ๐ข๐จ๐ง ๐š๐ง๐ ๐œ๐จ๐ฆ๐ฉ๐š๐ง๐ฒ ๐œ๐ฎ๐ฅ๐ญ๐ฎ๐ซ๐ž, ๐ข๐ญ ๐ฆ๐ฎ๐ฌ๐ญ ๐›๐ž ๐ฌ๐ฎ๐ฉ๐ฉ๐จ๐ซ๐ญ๐ž๐ ๐›๐ฒ ๐ฏ๐š๐ฅ๐ฎ๐ž๐ฌ, ๐ฉ๐ซ๐ข๐ง๐œ๐ข๐ฉ๐ฅ๐ž๐ฌ, ๐š๐ง๐ ๐š ๐œ๐ฅ๐ž๐š๐ซ ๐ฉ๐š๐ญ๐ก ๐ญ๐จ ๐ฐ๐ก๐ž๐ซ๐ž ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐œ๐จ๐ฆ๐ฉ๐š๐ง๐ฒ ๐ข๐ฌ ๐ก๐ž๐š๐๐ž๐. Employees must understand how their role directly or indirectly impacts the customer and the business.

Leaders must embrace the mantra’s true spirit and inspire employees to live by its decisions and actions.

Your mantra ๐ฌ๐ก๐จ๐ฎ๐ฅ๐๐งโ€™๐ญ ๐›๐ž ๐–๐‡๐€๐“ ๐˜๐Ž๐” ๐ƒ๐Ž. ๐ˆ๐ญ ๐ฌ๐ก๐จ๐ฎ๐ฅ๐ ๐›๐ž ๐–๐‡๐˜ ๐˜๐Ž๐” ๐ƒ๐Ž ๐ˆ๐“. Thatโ€™s when people get on board.

๐ˆ๐Ÿ ๐ญ๐ก๐ข๐ฌ ๐ซ๐ž๐ฌ๐จ๐ง๐š๐ญ๐ž๐ฌ, ๐ฅ๐ž๐ญโ€™๐ฌ ๐ญ๐š๐ฅ๐ค.