Posts Tagged ‘Mission statements’

Mission Statements: Strategies to Consider

Thursday, February 2nd, 2012

For many organizations, controlling workplace and employee behaviour is by no means a new problem. Getting employees to behave in a manner which is consistent with and reinforces the goals and aspirations contained in the company mission statement (a core and cornerstone strategic document) is at best an ongoing challenge.

Indeed, the true test of any mission statement’s worth, and worthiness, lies in its ability to inspire, control and influence employee behaviour. It’s also the job of corporate and institutional leaders to make sure this happens.

While it is beyond the scope of today’s blog to delve into all of the activities required to become a mission driven organization (for that you have to read my 2011 Business Best Seller, A Tale of Two Employees and the person who wanted to lead them), I can however outline a few strategies wise leaders must consider when developing and implementing an effective, behaviour influencing mission statement:

Have a mission statement that addresses the needs of all key stakeholders (from the brass to the grass roots of the organization)
Re-introduce employees to the mission statement on a regular basis (ensuring that they know it, understand it and are focused, and committed to it)
Reinforce the mission through organizational structures, systems and procedures (this especially includes the recruitment, training and reward systems)
Engage employees by allowing them to provide feedback and suggestions on what the mission statement means to them and how it can be improved

Only by incorporating the above mentioned practices can a company ever expect their mission statement to have an effect on their employees. It’s that simple . . . really!! Failing to do so will result, I can assure you, in having a mission statement that is hardly worth the paper it is written on.

My closing thought:

For any corporation to successfully develop and implement a mission statement, it must possess a team of well-trained, engaged employees who are committed to upholding it. And what are the consequences of not being mission driven? Chaos, confusion and contempt. Just ask any failing organization.

Mission to make money?

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012

The purpose of a corporation is to make money…well, sort of…

For the record, I have spent most of my academic career unraveling the mystery of mission statements – the most popular management tool in the world and yet equally among the most despised. What I have found is that a well crafted, communicated and coordinated mission can make the difference between mind boggling and mediocre performance.

The starting point is in their creation which must answer the question: why do we exist. Easy to ask. Hard to answer. The secret lies in understanding that every organization exists because it is able to attract and retain the loyalty of multiple stakeholders (external and internal)who support the organization through different means: capital, purchases, labour and social licence.

Massively mistreat any one stakeholder upon whom you are significantly dependent as an organization, and you are toast….you will not exist. Plain and simple.

Mission statements however are just words found on a piece of paper or at a lobby entrance. To make them real, they need to be translated (word for word) and communicated (over and over again), though measurable objectives, programs and tactics. And all this needs ultimately to be coordinated in some kind of symphonic-like set of organizational systems and processes because, if not, the mission music will just be a lot of conflicting noise.

Creating a mission driven organization is a lot of hard work for sure….but, the payoff from creating one is definitely there…and not just for the shareholders who get to enjoy excellent returns but also for the customers with outstanding products,for the employees with secure and rewarding careers and for communities who benefit from having the “corporation” as a responsible “resident citizen”.

Corporations must make a profit to exist…but those profits, if they are to be both superior and sustainable, will only happen when all stakeholders, not just the shareholders, benefit/profit from the existence of the corporation. So, corporations must make money/profits to exist but how they make those profits is the key to the corporation’s long term success.

Great mission statements espouse this thinking and brilliant leaders turn the words of their mission into action. My research over the years bears this out.