An organisation’s Vision, Mission or Values have traditionally been a fairly static statement of intent sitting in a business plan or on a website page barely seeing the light of day. It is supposed to represent the central value of an organisations existence, but the words and intent often appears so generic or bland that the meaning and impact is lost on the average punter. Sometimes they are written as more of a marketing exercise to depict how an organisation wants to appear to external parties without taking into consideration how it impacts their people.
The key to a successful and positive culture in the modern workplace is ensuring your people identify and believe in your “cause”. They need to be able to embrace your organisational strategy and find a real sense of purpose in their work. Engaging your people in the ‘why’ of your business is more crucial now than ever. If you underestimate the importance of ensuring your team is on the same page as your organisational values,you will probably find your workplace culture will go the way of the dinosaurs.
Having recently completed a full revamp of HorizonOne’s ‘central tenets’ to reinvigorate the ‘why’ of our 8 year old business, we came across some really interesting things worth sharing:
Your vision, mission and core values needs to feel ALIVE
It is simple, if your team is not engaged with the why of your organisation they are probably only partially engaged in their role at best. We discovered early on in this process of reinvigoration that not one HorizonOne team member, myself included, could list more than 50% of our slightly clumsy, generic sounding core values. Less than ideal…
• They must be memorable. They need to make an impact on the reader. If they are going to compete with the countless amount of information competing for space in your teams brain, they also need to be represented simply, succinctly and supported with an image that clearly reinforces the meaning.
• The words need to make the reader ‘feel something’. They need to free of Corporate babble and buzzword bingoisms.
• They need to be a living, breathing part of your organisational culture, revisited and updated regularly.
Before we started the exercise, we did a lot of research and found there is no better example out there than recently floated Australian company Atlassian. Simple, relatable concepts that clearly state the founding values their business lives by.
This is not a top down business decision – have your team help define who you are and where you are going!
When we decided to reawaken our core tenets, we understood the key to success would be relatability and team engagement.So we didn’t mess around. We organised a whole of team facilitated day and in preparation did a lot of research to help develop the material necessary to form the nuts and bolts of who we are. We engaged a gun leadership facilitation expert Siebert Neethling who has helped organisations large and small delivering similar programs across the globe. It was a long exhausting day however with Seibert’s guidance and expertise as well as determination to nail it from our team, we have been incredibly happy with the end result. (to be published on our new website – coming soon!)
Don’t stop at putting it on your wall….
After our new office refit in February our core values will be visible every single day.But that’s not enough. We will continue to highlight the importance of incorporating our Vision and Values into our day to day work. They will become instrumental for our internal recruitment process for new team members. It can be quite revealing to ask someone which value they identify the most with and why. It is a great way to discover what they are passionate about.
We will be incorporating out values into performance reviews, internal awards program and including them regularly into internal training. Most of all we want our team to really believe in what our values mean and to talk about them – a lot!
Does your team understand the ‘why’ of your organisation?
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