Most of the organizations that I work with have lofty vision/mission statements and a fancy list of values. Few, if any, develop an organizational culture that allows their vision to become a reality. It seems that creating a vision/mission statement is nothing more than checking off another task from the organizational to-do list.
If you just google ‘company mission statement’ you’ll come across hundreds of samples that sound something like this – ‘To become the world’s leading…’, ‘To be the company that best understands…’, ‘To be a global leader in …’ and the list goes on.
What most startups and mature businesses fail to do is to bridge the GAP between the company’s ideology and its practices. I feel that this course correction is one of the core tasks of leadership and one that is often overlooked or taken for granted.
Jim Collins and Jerry Porras said it best in their book ‘Built to last’ – “The crucial variable is NOT the content of a company’s ideology, BUT how deeply it believes its ideology”
In the video below, which explains Starbucks new plan to provide free college education to its ‘partners’, you will hear a business leader who is not willing to be a bystander expecting the government to fix things but someone who is willing to take responsibility for the professional development of his employees. And in the process, living up to the Starbucks Mission Statement – “to inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighbourhood at a time.”
Crafting a great vision/mission statement may seem like a lot of work in the beginning but that is actually the easy part. The real opportunity for business leaders lies in aligning business practices and organizational culture to the vision/mission/value statements. That’s when a leader knows that he’s heading in the same direction that he originally intended. That’s when he’ll know for sure that the intense heat of the market has not scorched the soul of his enterprise.