I often find myself looking back a decade or so to the era of the “Quality Movement” and all of the consultants who had us believing that creating a new “paradigm shift” in the organization was crucial to the success of our work. That “paradigm shift” took the form of a lot of other buzzwords tied up in group dynamics where we worked through a Gantt Chart or SWOP board or Pareto Diagram then did some “chip voting”, all aimed at creating agreement and alignment throughout the organization. The efforts inevitably led to the discovery that what the organization really lacked was a solid strategic plan and the Vision and Mission Statements to support that plan and provide direction. This “Quality” work was also met with derisive comments from the natives about “another flavor of the month” program and was, therefore, minimally internalized throughout the workforce. Missing from the process was some giant voice of reason that could help us focus on what was truly beneficial in all of the gobbledygook we were paying for. That “important stuff” is simply MVV; Mission, Vision and Values of the organization. All of the rest of the work was just billable hours, in my humble opinion.
Before discussion of their importance, definitions might be helpful. Here are mine:
The “mission” of an organization is simply the work that is necessarily done on a day to day basis to meet the current goals of the organization. It’s what we do.
The “vision” is what we strive to be as an organization. If mission is what we do now, vision is what we want to be when we grow up. And it has to be a stretch to be meaningful.
Finally, “values” are those things you hold dear as an organization; the things that identify what you think are important to embrace and support for the success of the mission and vision. They should attract good employees to your company and retain them, as well as create the alignment within the workforce. Hopefully, your value statements have to do with more than just the obligatory “honesty” and “integrity” but actually reflect values that are unique to your organization and accurately display the beliefs and guiding principles of a unified workplace.
Why have I placed this short discussion under the “Leadership” banner on my website? It’s because the primary responsibility of the leader of any organization is to develop and sustain the organization’s commitment to its future (you may call this your strategic plan). In order to do that there has to be agreement and understanding throughout the organization around the mission ( day to day responsibilities), vision ( where are you trying to go as an organization) and values ( what are the beliefs that will guide you in the right direction). Only then will there be uniformity and alignment within the workforce, with everyone pulling in the same direction.
I happen to be one of those weird ops types who actually enjoys the work of identifying and codifying the MVV of an organization. I championed that process as a senior staff member with the Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC) and have helped other organizations do that work, as well. If you would like me to work with you to help develop or refine your Mission, Vision and Value statements, feel free to contact me at your convenience. It’s not complicated work, but it is necessary. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org