The enthusiasm around developing an organization’s vision, mission and values tends to fade quickly and these fine notions are promptly forgotten. The whole point is the need for ongoing awareness, to have those beacons provide the philosophical underpinning of why we’re in business and how we do business.
Very simply and worth mentioning,
- The vision is the dream, the aspiration for the future.
- The mission is the purpose for being in business.
- The values are those fundamental ethics and principles that anchor business practices and guide decision-making.
I recently worked with the leadership team of a microbrewery in Utah, perhaps an unlikely location! The newly appointed CEO recognized the need for a new focus and strategic direction. He also needed to infuse new methodologies for strategic thinking, collaboration and professional management.
We went up into the mountains — a charming chalet and truly a retreat from daily operational responsibilities. This was not a casual exercise. It was preceded by an online survey which required responses to the following:
- Choice of words that might best represent the company’s values.
- Preliminary ideas using examples of vision, mission and values statements from industry giants and well-known breweries and companies to stimulate creative thinking.
In addition, participants were required to complete a behavioral intelligence assessment, including their DISC behavioral profile and their EQ (emotional quota, the measure of emotional intelligence).
The first step was to work on the team-building, starting with a review of the DISC and emotional intelligence aspects. The underlying theme was to develop greater self-awareness, identified by Dr. Daniel Goleman as the cornerstone of leadership. Most important to the team-building, each member of the leadership team shared results of their assessments, with the CEO kicking off. Reason for sharing? Frank discussion of personal characteristics with comments and feedback from colleagues and all about building trust. The importance was recognizing and respecting differences in style, and identifying opportunities for modifying behaviors to manage relationships more effectively. It worked and continues to work a few months later.
This was the first part of Leadership and Self-awareness program, followed by group discussions on leadership styles, characteristics, leadership derailers (self-assessments were completed), leadership versus management and case studies.
The online survey captured input in advance of the work session. All comments were circulated to executives prior to the meeting, together with existing vision, mission and values statements. Small groups worked the details and then presented to the full group for review, discussion and debate. The result – an outstanding set of statements, truly reflecting change and setting the parameters for the desired culture. An interesting by-product was the determination that “purpose” was a superior term to “mission,” since mission is all about the purpose for being in business. The intent? Focus on Purpose in planning, decision-making and determining priorities.
Fortunately the process didn’t end with descent from the mountain. Next steps:
- The draft statements were communicated to the entire organization.
- The company’s marketing consultants refined the wording.
- Leaders held meetings with all staff to discuss the relevance to each of them.
- Posters were prepared with high visibility throughout the facilities.
- The company values have been built into the core competencies portion of the performance review, highlighting accountability for demonstrating these values.
Following up a few months later, all managers participated in two days of training in Leadership & Self-awareness. This was supported by performance management training, including goal-setting, coaching skills, managing with EI, managing the difficult conversations, time management and meeting management. The underlying theme was reinforcing values and purpose. The rationale is obvious with importance lying in alignment, a common vernacular, and a consistent approach to key aspects of leadership and management.
Will it work? This is a function of leadership and management at all levels, starting at the top and sustaining the focus. The desired outcome? Professional development and growth of leaders and managers and translating the learning into higher levels of performance, productivity and profitability.