In order to develop a mission statement, I first spent a great deal of time reflecting on the history of our company. My aim was to identify the key idea that gave rise to the company, as well as the prevailing conditions that helped shape it. After long hours of interviews with my parents and other who worked in the taxi business around the time the company was formed, the following picture emerged:
At that time, the only radio dispatch center serving Vienna taxis had been founded solely to meet the city administration’s aim of modernization. One could say that the formerly (~ 1963) largest association of taxi firms was actually reluctant to operate the center, and that the city’s two existing taxi collectives basically agreed that there was no future in radio taxis (if they even thought about the issue at all). As for my father, he originally took a job as a taxi driver to help finance his international business studies, but he really enjoyed driving and went on to make a career of it. His goal was to start his own taxi firm once he finished his studies, and it didn’t take very long for him to buy his first taxi. The combination of having studied business and working as a taxi driver enabled him to quickly recognize the many weaknesses that existed within dispatch operations. Even so, his numerous suggestions for state-of-the-art improvements were simply ignored by the dispatch center operators.
As fate would have it, my father’s fare one evening was a university professor to whom he confided his troubles with the dispatch center. The professor soon convinced my father (they met again several times) to start his own taxi dispatch center and the rest is history. Ultimately, this led me to conclude that our company was founded largely due to the ignorance of the dispatch center – in particular, ignorance to the needs of the taxi firms it was supposed to serve. This also made it clear to me what our company’s goals should be:
- To recognize taxi firms as our customers and treat them accordingly
- To take their worries, needs and complaints seriously
- To invest in improving the taxi business in terms of government policies, technology and image alike
With these aims in mind, I started a company development project headed by an experienced organizational psychologist. All departments were systematically analyzed and employees were invited to share their perceptions and experiences. This resulted in a seed of new awareness that led some employees to leave the company, while those who remained share an even stronger commitment to the company goals and growing together as a team.
The process resulted in the following mission statement:
- We are equally committed to serving taxi firms, drivers and passengers (callers)
- Providing friendly service is a must – to ALL of our customers
- Complaints and suggestions for improvements are treated as gifts, for they show that someone is making an effort to provide us with valuable feedback
- Within the company, we value teamwork above all; EVERY position is important and a meaningful part of the whole!
- Regular training ensures a high standard of quality
- We embrace multicultural thinking for a multicultural industry
- We take our corporate responsibility for social causes seriously (by sponsoring and promoting a variety of social organizations)
- We believe in using technical innovations to make work more efficient and pleasant
- New projects – we promote freedom of thinking and action