I grew up one of eight children in a several generational, multi-dimensional family business in a small town. It first opened its’ doors in 1895. One hundred and twenty-two years later, it still thrives. When I was young – it was an ambulance service, funeral home/mortuary, hardware store, and a propane gas business. The business still remains this way – except without the ambulance service. I never questioned why we worked so hard - the mission was always to “do it best”, and its vision has always been to follow “the golden rule” – pretty simple to remember. I’m fairly certain this is why the business continues – despite competition and economic downturns. And, the employees – they are, and always have been, incredible people. Was it a perfect workplace – no, life doesn’t work that way. But, did everyone keep trying to “do it best”? Yes. And, they continue to do so because the mission and vision are alive in the spaces the business inhabits and in the people who inhabit it. The value proposition continues to be nurtured and lived.
How well do you know your own organization? How well do you understand the true culture of your workplace and teams? How well aligned are you and your employees with your stated Mission and Vision – do your Mission and Vision live inside your organization? Do your employees know what your Mission and Vision are, or are these just a bunch of words on the company website and layered into marketing materials for clients/customers or employees you’re hoping to attract?
Do your teams readily revisit mission and vision with a goal of seeking alignment in virtually all they do? If so, what happens when there is incongruence? Do you, as a leader/team/member, become curious and wonder if realignment is needed, or if it’s time to evolve your Mission and Vision?
Does your corporate/business culture “live” its value proposition – that promise your employees and clients/customers can trust in and believe in – every day - not just on some days. Do you have one?
No doubt, given real world and everyday challenges, its hard keep this "trifecta" in focus. Yet, intentionally doing so could very well be the key to whether you will, or you won't, attract and keep the best employees, clients and customers.
I believe the Best companies have a continuous dialogue with Mission and Vision, and this continuous dialog breathes life into the organization and its people. In fact, this dialog becomes a palpable energy that the Best places to work - for and in- have within their walls and within their people. And, when they look to add new employees or make decisions about where the team/company is headed, they take their Mission and Vision very seriously. They understand their integral “value proposition” and they throw decisions up against it and see if they stick. If these decisions do, great – they make them. If not, they become curious about what could be better. We all want to be part of something “good” – something of “value” – something “better”.
Seriously, what’s your Mission and Vision? Do you know them, have a continuous dialog with them, and believe in them? What’s your Value Proposition? Does your workplace exude these values – all the way from your physical environment to your people? I would guess if you can answer ‘Yes”, your company is doing well. And your employees? - They stay, they grow, and they enjoy it.