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Do you think that mission, vision and values are just a 'nice to have' for businesses?

A Feb 21 survey by Gallup of 150 top Chief Human Resource Officers (CHROs) proves otherwise (

Gallup reported on a number of key themes related to productivity that the CHROs identified. The number one theme was: "Mission and purpose have been important drivers of high employee engagement." Engaged employees are those who willingly and enthusiastically contribute towards helping the organisation achieve its goals, i.e., they are the employees you want to attract and keep!

Why does clarity around mission, vision, values and strategy matter? For a number of reasons:

  • It gives everyone a focus thereby enabling better coordination amongst teams and staff.

  • It governs conduct by articulating what is important.

  • It saves time by clarifying what needs to be done (and by implication what does not need to be done).

  • It empowers decision making by highlighting priorities.

  • It informs recruitment and promotion by matching candidates' competencies with those required to service the mission.

  • It tells external stakeholders, including clients, what you do (and do not do).

  • Etc.

When facilitating workshops in different sectors and the question "why do we exist?" is asked, a common reply is "to make money!" But think about this: customers and clients know that a business must make money and so they must expect to pay for a product or service, but would YOU go to a legal firm, for example, whose stated mission is 'to make as much money as possible'? Or would you choose one whose mission is 'to ensure fair justice at a reasonable price for commercial clients' (just as a general example)? Of course, actions must match words or the mission is pointless, hence the importance of getting the 'why do we exist?' question right.

In addition to turning off potential clients, the 'make more money' mission statement also fails to answer the most important question: How? If you have not considered this before, the way to start thinking about the right answer is to ask, 'how does what we do (or want to do) make the world a better place?' That may sound altruistic and un-businesslike to some but, given the points above, it really makes good business sense. The mission is the rudder which steers the ship and it provides the context for decision-making and activity including resource allocation priorities.

So, how clear are your mission (reason why the business exists), vision (what success will look like in 3-5 years), values (behaviours that will govern how the mission is serviced) and strategy? If there is confusion or lack of clarity, expect more internal politics and conflict, reduced engagement, lower sales and much more besides.

To read further into the importance of this subject, I recommend Simon Sinek's excellent book 'Start With Why' or his presentation on TED Talks/YouTube. If you need a step-guide through some helpful questions to ask to gain clarity, the equally excellent book 'The Advantage' by Patrick Lencioni will help (also contains some examples to further stimulate thinking). And of course, if you need coaching or facilitation to work through the process we would be delighted to hear from you here at Aspire MCL.

For interest, some of the other key findings of the Gallup report were:

  • Leaders have gone the extra mile to show they care about their people, with positive results.

  • Unprecedented levels of communication and transparency have increased trust, morale and productivity.

  • Productivity measurement was probably broken before the pandemic - and nobody is quite sure how to fix it.

  • The emergency response mindset of 2020 is unlikely to be sustainable through 2021. Note: A number of sources have raised concerns about employee burnout and the effect on productivity.

As always when addressing organisational health issues and opportunities, effective leadership and teamwork are the critical factors for success. Get in touch today and take the first step towards unleashing your potential!

Aspire MCL:

Developing Inspiring Leaders - Building Great Teams - Transforming Businesses

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