Superstructures: Sharing Experience
When I started out in business ‘Vision’, ‘Mission’ and ‘Culture’ seemed very ‘Americanised’ and I assumed they weren’t for us. How wrong I was! As the team grew it was clear that everyone needed common goals and a culture that glued them together.
The Vision is where our process started. Established by the leader(s) of the organisation, it is a short statement clearly defining the long-term goal and direction for the business as a whole.
The Mission Statement
The mission Statement is the plan of how the business will work to achieve the vision and mainly covers how it will operate in an outward facing manor regarding customer service, USP’s and ‘how we do things’.
The Culture is an agreed way of life within the business. It lays down how we work together internally to achieve the outward facing vision and mission and covers what’s below the surface of the business; the core values of how we behave.
We were advised very early on that creating a mission and culture from within the team was the best way forward. To be effective, everyone needs to buy into the goals and objectives and the best way to achieve this was by giving them ownership over them. So, we held internal workshops to really breakdown what we all felt the business was about and how we would best achieve our vision. From this we collaboratively created a strong mission statement.
In further workshops, we discussed why we came to work every day, how we would like to be treated at work and what our core values were. We then invited members of the team to produce their own version of our team culture statement. The final product was a simple graphic (see the main picture above) showing our core culture values – again – something we all had ownership of.
Use these statements to benchmark business performance
One thing I have realised is that these statements should not be treated as a one-off exercise to tick boxes on ‘employee engagement’ and tender bids. We regularly use them as benchmarks to assess how well we are meeting our goals and fulfilling our promises to ourselves. And all three elements of the triangle should be updated as the business grows, and the longer-term goals change.
As a team, we regularly discuss areas where we may be underperforming and then work on actions to rectify them. These get togethers are currently underpinning a big change in our leadership and management structure and re-shaping the business with the sole aims of fulfilling our vision, mission and culture.
I have learnt that there is little point in investing huge amounts of time and energy on growing your sales and increasing your turnover if your team are uninspired, have no common goals and values and are therefore inefficient.
Having a clear vision, mission and culture that the team have ownership of, makes sure that you’re always on the right course and ready for the growth ahead.
Photo of James taken by Friel