Whenever I commence a coaching assignment with a business client we start by working on creating the vision and values for the company. It is common for my clients to initially see this process as a waste of time until they get to understand the power that these create.
Rather than be a soft feel-good activity, clearly articulating WHY the business exists, WHAT the future looks like for the company, and HOW you will get there, are the absolute foundations of any business large and small. A good vision and values process will identify exactly these.
I have worked in a range of organisations over the years and I would say about half actually lived their vision and values.
What does it look like to work for a company that lives and breathes its vision and values?
It means that
There has been significant financial investment over the past two decades to create company vision and values statements that, I feel, have been lukewarm at best in their ability to engage and transform.
Some of the reasons could be that
When a company has a compelling vision and values set they have the power to bring out the very best behaviour and performance in the people. They have the ability to increase profitability, brand awareness, and market share.
In 1994 Samsung CEO was unhappy with the company’s performance and quality of its products. The CEO’s created a value proposition to its employees which was simply “change everything but your wife and children”. These seven words breathed energy into the organisation.
By the new century Samsung products were perceived as high quality and so they were able to charge premium prices. Their brand became well respected as the company transformed to be one of the top leaders in IT.
A compelling vision and values set can only come from honest conversation across a company. It requires a significant commitment of senior leaders and employees to be open and engage in constructive discussion with candor. Nothing can be left on the table; the process must allow the invisible to become visible. If a company is in a difficult position financially, this type of process is the best process to utilise to transform the situation.
How does it work?
I mentioned before that a compelling vision and values contain the WHY, WHAT, & HOW.
WHY does the company exist? This is the backbone for everything the company is about. Is it because the company cares about a particular thing? Does it have the expertise to improve something for someone?
WHAT does the company want to achieve in the future? Does the company want to be known as the best in its field? Does it want to achieve a level of revenue / sales within a certain timeframe? This is the vision or aspiration for the company and is used for all decision making and strategic planning.
HOW will the company achieve its vision? What does the company commit to in order to achieve its vision? These commitments become the values. For values statement to mean something they need to be action orientated and tell the stakeholders what the company will never compromise on. This is where the real power comes from.
If you were looking to create a new vision and values for your company or you believe it is time for them to be revised, I suggest that you look for consultants who can do the following
Provide an understanding how the brain works.
Neuroscience has uncovered a lot in understanding the impact that conversation has on the brain. For example research has found that
Create a high trust environment
The development of trust has be the first part of the process. Without trust there is limited opportunity for creativity and thinking about future possibilities. Trust works to open up the parts of the brain where creativity, innovation and relationship building occur. These close down in the absence of trust causing people to fear threatened and insecure or unsafe.
Consultants who can create a high trust environment for people to feel that they can contribute without judgement will deliver a significantly better outcome than consultants who don’t.
Create a shared understanding.
All too often we assume everyone thinks like us. For a company to create a compelling vision and values, all employees, leaders and departments must share a common meaning of the words and statements used. A failure to focus on this during the process will lead to lower engagement and acceptance levels.
If you were to select a consultancy that was able to provide these in their vision and values workshops you can be assured that the resulting statements for your company will be compelling and energising. You will quickly see the changes in the organisation having rolled out your new vision and values. You will want to engage with them.