A new way of looking at your company’s mission statement and core values

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In recent years, it has become the norm for companies and institutions to develop mission statements, which are often supported by vision statements and sometimes core values. They are valuable tools intended to help employees and other stakeholders of an organization understand its purpose and what it stands for. As marketers, we are frequently asked to take an active role in the development or refinement of these important business elements.

When we deploy them, it is often with great enthusiasm and is intended to boost morale and instill greater focus among stakeholders in the organization. However, I recently heard a story that got me thinking on a deeper level.

I was listening to a presentation that Dr. Peter J. Pronovost gave to the City Club of Cleveland on how to improve outcomes in our health systems. During his presentation, he recounted an experience he had on an aircraft carrier. As he describes it, an aircraft carrier is a floating city designed to launch and recover heavily armed aircraft at sea. He was on deck with an admiral watching planes – loaded with artillery that could knock the carrier to pieces – land every three seconds. Nearby, a sailor was sweeping the flight deck. When Dr Pronovost asked him what his job was, the sailor stopped what he was doing, straightened up and looked the doctor straight in the eye. He replied, “Sir, I help planes take off and land safely to serve the United States mission. The doctor replied, “Now it’s leadership!” “

The doctor then recounted conversations he subsequently had at his own healthcare organization where he replayed the same question. When he received a task-oriented response, like “I’m cleaning the rooms,” he would knock it over and inform the staff member that what he was actually doing was “prevent infection so patients have more positive results. after their hospitalization. to stay.”

For many organizations today, there is a valuable lesson to be learned here. The mission statement, vision statement and core values ​​are only effective to the extent that they are rooted in the culture of your organization. Posting the words and pictures on a website, digital signage or in a video is one thing. It is quite another to live and breathe the mission in every task. Each team member should understand how valuable their role is in the success required to accomplish the mission.

For example, the production assistant in a video production team is just one actor, but their ability to handle multiple tasks simultaneously and deal with many small details plays a crucial role in the overall success of the production. In this example, one element of the producer’s role is to ensure that all team members have a clear idea of ​​the “mission” and how their contribution contributes to the success of the show.

In a retail environment, team members who pack and ship inventory to stores need to understand the role they play in customer satisfaction. Likewise, members of the accounting department need to understand the contribution they make to the overall operations of the business so that customers perceive that they are getting good value for money when they buy the products. Store staff, whose role in customer satisfaction was once so obvious, now need to realize that their store and their company’s e-commerce offerings need to work synergistically to create a great customer experience.

Deploying a mission statement, vision statement and / or core values ​​program is just the start. To make them truly effective, they need to be reinforced consistently across all levels of the organization. Regardless of the industry, here are some key approaches our business is taking, and any organization can take, to reinforce the importance of each role to the business mission:

At all levels of the organization, regularly thank employees for their many contributions while tying their contributions to the company’s mission. It could be a simple email, a verbal thank you at the water cooler, or a more formal acknowledgment. The impact of the thank you – whatever its form – is what will resonate with employees.

Organize a “state of the company” on a quarterly or semi-annual basis where leadership brings each member of the organization into the folds of finances, future goals and other key elements that support the mission and vision of the organization. business.

Recognize employees for what they do to accomplish the company’s mission. Whether it’s a special lunch or something like a gift card, any tangible gesture to say thank you for what they are doing will go a long way.

Everyone from the CEO to lower-level supervisors needs to invest in making sure their team members understand and believe the roles they perform are critical to the success of the organization. They must lead by example every day. To support them, the communications team must constantly reinforce these programs across all points of contact. It is then that these statements will truly become a part of the culture and lead to the desired success.


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