How to Make Your Mission and Vision Statements the Definition of Your Corporate Culture
In the first three parts of this series, we’ve looked at how mission and vision statements can drive corporate culture, before looking at good and bad examples of both, and then discussing how to create killer mission and vision statements.
Now, the thing is that it would be a waste to let your mission or vision statement sit there and fail to meet its potential. You have a real opportunity for them to define your corporate culture, empower your employees, and breakdown resistance to organisational change even before you have initiated a change program.
If you fail to use your statements to their full potential, you will simply have put words on paper and, possibly, circulated them by email. Big deal!
Learn from the best – see how Steve Jobs used the mission statement to develop Apple’s corporate culture
After he returned to Apple in the late 1990s, Jobs was faced with a company that had lost its way. During his first tenure, Apple had become something rather special. During the interim period, it had lost its purpose. When he returned, Jobs reinitiated a unique culture with two simple words that summed up the mission of the company. It perfectly matched the mood of customers, the vision of the future, and the mission for the present. It was genius.
The “Think Different” mission and vision statement began with banners and t-shirts at head office. Jobs invited everybody to think different. There was no new product in the pipeline, but his first and overriding objective was to get the whole company engaged in a single vision, a defining corporate culture.
Seven steps to doing a ‘Steve Jobs’ and making your mission statement change your corporate culture
With your mission statement in place, it is now time to lead your people in its beliefs and values. The leader who does this will affirm to his or her people what it is that makes the difference to customers, suppliers, shareholders, and, of course, employees.
This type of leadership requires managers to understand the big picture, allow the day-to-day management to align with the organisation’s mission, and encourage employees to engage with business strategy.
Here are seven easy-to-follow methods to make this happen:
- Ask your leaders to explain what their jobs entail, and take note of those answers that reflect mission
- Ask for examples of organisational mission in action
- Coach your leaders in methods and strategies to advance the organisational mission
- Speak to customers. Ask them if they are aware of your organisation’s mission and vision. Is your brand and culture understood by customers?
- Get management and team members involved. Get them discussing how current strategy might affect future vision, and how what your company does aligns with its beliefs and values. Involve everyone in the process by holding training sessions to teach people about the organisation’s mission and vision.
- Use team meetings to evaluate current successes, and tie them back to corporate culture as part of the mission statement. Get people to think about how this strategy and culture benefits all stakeholders.
- Do all of the above continuously, measuring engagement constantly.
Mission and vision is your starting point to the creation of a game-changing corporate culture. It’s worth spending the time to get it right.
Part Four: How to Make Your Mission and Vision Statements the Definition of Your Corporate Culture