Mark Jeltema - San Diego Consulting Group
In the previous blog post we discussed the overarching structure of an aligned company and the 5 key components that make it up. If you have not read that you can find the first part here.
Today we are going to deep dive on how a clearly articulated vision, mission, and culture is key to a successful company. The reason I group your vision and mission statements along with culture is that they all revolve around authenticity and trust.
While there are many definitions of each of these components, I am going to give them my definition in relation to authenticity and trust.
Vision – This statement clarifies what the company will use as its guiding star when facing the hard decisions.
Mission – The mission statement is the lever by which the company intends to pursue its vision.
Culture – The unifying force that differentiates someone who belongs and someone who just works there.
Before we look at some examples let’s talk about the impact that these have on your company.
When your vision and mission statements are clear and are supported by the culture of your teams then you have a force of nature that attracts the kinds of people aligned with the company vision, inspires a sense of belonging, ownership of the company success, and gives a company that “IT” factor so many people crave. The way you can tell is when you ask anyone in the company what are we working toward they can give you a response in their own words that aligns with the company vision.
A key concept of this is that you do not have to have a “tech bro” culture to be successful or inspire people. You need to be honest in your vision and mission then align the desired culture to that vision. A great example of this is Johnson & Johnson a company that recently celebrated 134 years in service. They have a clear and understood vision and mission statement, additionally they have structured their culture into a credo, read before meetings to remind everyone of the principals that drive the organization forward.
Vision: “To help people see better, connect better, live better”
Mission: “Bringing science and sense of sight to life through world-class innovation and customer experience”
On the flip side of the coin is those companies that ignore the implications of their statements. What this does is immediately identify that the company does not know what it is trying to do beyond take your money. At this risk of jumping on an already full bandwagon we give you WeWork’s vision and mission statements.
Mission: “We are a community company committed to maximum global impact,”
Vision: “Our mission is to elevate the world’s consciousness.”
The challenges of WeWork’s culture are well known by now with a company full of nepotism, lack of communication, fraud, and self-serving actions.
WeWork’s former vision and mission statements, recently changed since the crash and change of leadership, showed how the company failed to build a realistic goal and was near impossible for anyone in the organization to articulate what it meant to them. I feel that this was a key factor is why a company with great funding, momentum, and attention failed so publicly.
The last example I want to bring to the table is Google. Particularly I want to focus on when Google changed to the Alphabet structure. Google prior to the change was a search engine, advertising platform, and then was expanding into cloud services, autonomous driving, etc. Many people were asking why a search engine with the mission “to organize the worlds data working on hardware, or vehicles, etc.
In Alphabet’s creation document Larry Page cited the focus of the great organization to include items like empowering small businesses, taking the long-term view, and focusing Google as a search and advertising business. I believe that this change not only helps the public understand the company goals but the people that work in divisions that were not search and advertising now understand how they fit in the company vision. Very powerful.
The alignment of vision, mission and culture is just the first step in achieving true alignment in your organization. But it one that warrants careful thought and planning. Next we will talk about building a strategy that people can get behind and know how their role supports the overall goals of the company.
As always if you would like assistance aligning your organization and building a self-reinforcing business let us know. San Diego Consulting Group is a collection of senior executives with diverse skills and talents to help you succeed no matter the current or future challenges.
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