A couple of years ago, our new CEO invited me to a working group for the company’s Mission, Vision and Values. I felt that the goals of the company was not clearly communicated so I sent the CEO a bold email and asked: “What are the most important goals at the moment? What are the things that if we do not meet them, we can just as well go home?” The next day, the CEO showed up at my office and said: “That is a great question. Let’s figure it out.”
He responded by asking me to lead a small working group that was going to look at our Mission, Vision and Values. This was very interesting and through this I learnt a few things.
Managers, and maybe especially upper management, can be busy, sometimes very busy. Make their life easier by telling them what answers you need in order to do a better job. Then they have a chance to do something about it. Speak to them directly or send them an email. If your email stays unanswered, pay them a visit and talk to them.
In my case this was the thing that got the ball rolling in the first place. I am sure that you have many good ideas that could be to the benefit for the company. Speak to your boss, or someone else, about your ideas. Nothing is going to happen if you do not tell people about it.
We took inspiration from here, there and everywhere. We looked at several mission and vision statements from all kinds of companies. The picture you can see in the post is the life poster and manifesto from www.holstee.com, one that I personally thought was very inspiring.
We also took inspiration from within the company. We talked a lot about what kind of company we are and what we wanted to become in the working group. But we also realised that for this to be good, we needed more input from our colleagues. We discussed Mission, Vision and Values at the lunch table and in the corridors. We put our drafts on the walls at the office and presented them at a management meeting to get input. We tried to be transparent with our work and open to feedback so that our Mission, Vision and Values would not just be a poster on the wall but something that the company believed in.
It is difficult
We had lots of fun doing this but I was surprised how difficult it was to articulate the Mission, Vision and Values of our company. Everybody in the group had worked in the company for a long time, we knew the business but we needed to really take our time with this.
I have am certain that we are not unique in finding this hard. It is hard. But it is imperative that you give it a try. Giving directions and painting the picture of the destination is at the very core of great leadership.
What are your experiences of similar work? How is your organisation working with Mission, Vision and Values? Leave a comment.