“Nobody’s Gonna Out-Flying Pie Flying Pie”

Flying Pie Pizzaria is dedicated to creating repeatably excellent experiences, often centered around a pizza meal. We show our integrity and practice of life-long learning via “A better idea always wins.” We celebrate our imperfect results while looking for ways to improve them. We create an environment in which employees contribute, feel valuable, and invite customers into our inclusive community. Above all, we recognize that what we do takes place in the overlap between all of our interests.

A mission statement is a benchmark for the things we experience. At Southwest Airlines they say: “If a policy or practice appears to violate the intent of the mission or is inconsistent with its values, people are expected to speak up.” At Flying Pie, that group of participating people includes you.

A Mission Statement For Flying Pie Pizzaria

In the summer of 2005, Howard read a book about how Southwest Airlines became so successful. It seemed that several of their business practices could be used to grow Flying Pie in similar ways to how they grew.  One of the cornerstones to Southwest’s success is their mission statement, in which they explained that if something appeared to violate the mission, the employees were expected to speak up. That, in particular, resonated with Howard and he decided Flying Pie needed
a mission statement.

Before the 2005 Charrette *  in October, we collected several sample Mission Statements from places including the Boise Public Library, a workbook sample, and the Southwest Airlines book. At the Charrette, we broke up into little groups and circled the parts we liked in each of the samples, and each group made a list of guiding principles about FP, with which to build our own mission statement.  Each group presented their findings, and we quickly built a list of our favorite 15 phrases.

We let that sit for almost two weeks, and then at a Store Leader meeting, we spent 45 minutes looking at the list of phrases and playing with ways to fit them together.  Amazingly, at the end of that 45 minutes, we had chosen five sentences and our basic Mission Statement was built.

Starting our mission statement with the phrase “Nobody’s Gonna ‘Out-Flying Pie’ Flying Pie’ means that the next 5 sentences are what we do better than anyone. The phrase comes from the core concept Howard has used as the owner for 22 years.

At this point, we shared it with employees by including a copy with their paychecks. We also put a copy of it on the wall of the restaurants, and on the web site. Within a few days, a Google search confirmed that there is only one place in the whole web world that you’ll find the phrase, “We celebrate our imperfect results” or the phrase “A better idea always wins”.

In the next few weeks, we attacked it fiercely, searching for circumstances in which it might not offer good guidance.
We also used it to measure up past and present work, new ideas, and even difficult customer relations. Over the next 3 months, very slowly we made several tiny changes, including taking out and swapping a few words, making each sentence as intense, vibrant and clear as possible.

When we were discussing what the fancy version might look like, ‘Stan Liechti looked at a beer mirror on the wall of the room we were meeting in, and said, “I think it’d look good with some mirror or reflective part, so that when you are reading it you are also seeing yourself, and even the other people around you.” That became the first solid piece of what we shopped for!

Then we contacted three different sign companies about making a fancy version for the wall of the restaurants.

Classic Design Studios of Boise had the clearest vision of how to make it look great, and within another month we were selecting typestyles for the finished “monuments.”

In the coda to our mission statement, we quoted the folks at Southwest Airlines, using the very phrase that caught Howard’s attention: One of the uses of a mission statement is as a benchmark for the things we experience. At Southwest Airlines they say: “If a policy or practice appears to violate the intent of the mission or is inconsistent with its values, people are expected to speak up.” At Flying Pie, that group of participating people includes you.

* An annual, all-day, widest-perspective visioning get-together. In attendance at the 2005 Charrette: Howard Olivier, Alyne Branson, Mark Emery, Pesh Mike, David Vann, Bean Durham, Lesley Juel, Rebecca Davis, Kristan Liechti, Amanda McIntire & Andy Query.