Successful organizations live by their mission, vision and values.

Not the ones that are visible in the halls or on walls in conferences rooms, or the ones printed on plastic, wallet-size cards that are carried around.

Recently, I came upon a post from a blog I read every morning.  The blog is called A Learning a Day (  I believe the post captures the essence of living our mission, vision and values.

Here is a portion of that post:

Walgreen’s mission statement: “To champion the health and well-being of every community in America.”

Rite Aid’s mission statement: “To improve the health and wellness of our communities through engaging experiences that provide our customers with the best products, services and advice to meet their unique needs.”

CVS’ mission statement: “To improve the lives of those we serve by making innovative and high-quality health and pharmacy services safe, affordable and easy to access.”

These are 3 of the largest pharmacy chains in the United States. Their mission statements and professed values are understandably fairly similar.

CVS, however, chose to stop selling cigarettes in 2014 to be consistent with their mission. They lost 2 Billion Dollars in the short term. Walgreens and Rite Aid, on the other hand, reluctantly increased the age limit to buy cigarettes to 21 after years of violations last year.

Values aren’t values until they cost us money.

Next time you find yourself developing or revising your organization’s MVV, consider the intent and commitment you are declaring.