Your Mission Statement Must Be Based On Your Values

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio: https://www.pexels.com/photo/photo-of-man-making-an-acoustic-guitar-3811843/

Many organizations have a mission statement. Mission statements can communicate the direction or aim of the organization and allow them to ensure the resources they use are in furtherance of that mission (Campbell & Tumin, 2021). Of course, an organization should predicate its mission on what the organization determines its purpose to be and the values it holds. This paper will examine some of those values for a fictional company and what its mission statement will become.

EdCo Luthiers

Founded in 2015, EdCo Luthiers is a small guitar manufacturer in Los Angeles County, California who specializes in custom-made guitars for discerning players. While its primary purpose for existing is to make the best guitars possible, there are several critical processes that enable the success of its mission: sourcing raw materials, guitar construction, marketing its guitars, selling the guitars, and supporting the purchaser after the sale. Wood used in guitars comes from around the world with complicated supply chains (ZME Science, 2019). Additional elements of the guitar include the specialized glues, dyes, hardware components, and, of course, strings. Making the guitars themselves requires working together; this requires the implementation of key concepts.

The Importance of Openness, Trust, and Transparency

EdCo Luthiers believes in creating a work environment that embraces openness, trust, and transparency. Each of these three ideas however are not just important abstract concepts but intrinsic to the company. For example, openness to new ideas by EdCo Luthers’ management allows the company flexibility for applying “varied approaches across a range of dimensions–strategy, talent deployment, capabilities, managing change–depending on the circumstances” (LaMonica, 2019, p. 12). Openness to new ideas brings a diversity of thought and ideas which can lead to better ways of making guitars.

Openness also affords EdCo Luthiers the opportunity to not just focus on the ‘what are you doing?’ aspects of its work but also the ‘how are you doing?’ (Geisler, 2020). COVID-19 has impacted many aspects of work-life balance for companies (Villarreal-Zegarra et al., 2022). EdCo Luthiers is no exception. This version of openness by EdCo Luthiers shows a level of concern for their employees. EdCo Luthiers is indicating the company actually cares about its employees and not just providing platitudes. This can improve what employees give back to EdCo Luthiers in productivity because they will feel valued. Feeling valued leads to trust throughout the company.

Researchers describe trust as “the willingness of a party to be vulnerable to the actions of another party based on the expectation that the other will perform a particular action important to the trustor, irrespective of the ability to monitor or control that other party” (Men et al., 2020, p. 4). Trust is how society and companies like EdCo Luthiers exchange information according to research cited by Men et al. (2020). If someone does not have trust in another person about what they are communicating, they cannot receive the intended message. The same applies to companies. If its employees do not trust the company’s decision-making process, the employees will not implement them properly leading to other issues within the company. And trust comes from the transparency EdCo Luthiers puts into its decision-making process.

One of Ramalingam et al.’s (2020) five principles of leadership stands out in this context: improving transparency. Transparency leads to better communication and decision making for EdCo Luthiers because, as noted by Hougaard and Carter (2022), transparency means knowing all the facts someone is considering. Transparency is the sharing of information openly with other members of the organization or company. It can foster better communications. Through this improved communication, the company builds trust and then becomes open to new concepts leading to better outcomes for EdCo Luthiers.

Values and Mission of EdCo Luthiers

As noted previously, company mission statements can communicate the direction or aim of the organization and allow them to ensure they use their resources in furtherance of that mission (Campbell & Tumin, 2021). However, EdCo Luthiers should derive its mission statement from its values which are based on openness, trust, and transparency.

EdCo Luthiers’ Values

The company has five values that it holds dear. They include a commitment to its customers; having a positive impact on the environment; working as a team; being open with each member on what both individuals and the company needs; and being accountable to each other. Starting with customer commitment, EdCo Luthiers makes guitars for players. If management does not focus the company on what players want or need from their instruments, then the company will cease to be relevant to the market it serves. If no one is purchasing EdCo Luthiers’s guitars, the company will cease generating revenue and will go bankrupt. This focus on providing customers with the instruments they deserve is the most important value the company focuses on.

Wood is an important part of making a guitar. Therefore, sustaining that wood to ensure the company can continue to have it as a resource is important to the company as well. EdCo Luthiers only works with suppliers that sustainably harvest wood. It does this for two reasons. First, sustainable practices are good for the environment. Second, the company needs to continue to have the components for its guitars and environmentally sound practices enable this necessary supply.. This directly feeds into its customer commitment as well since research shows that consumers care about protecting the environment (Zhang & Xie, 2022). Thinking about sustainability across the whole of the company can lead to greater teamwork as well.

Working as a team is important to EdCo Luthiers because teamwork creates something that is greater than the sum of its parts. Teamwork allows for the completion of projects that would not have been possible by a single person (Nadtochiy et al., 2022). EdCo Luthiers will use this idea of teamwork to feed back into its focus on customer satisfaction and commitment to continue to make great musical instruments. Of course, teamwork requires an openness to working in new and exciting ways and, as noted, openness also is a foundational element of the company.

Openness about individual and company needs is also a means of creating transparency. Hougaard and Carter (2022) state transparency leads to better communication and decision making for EdCo Luthiers because team members will share information openly about their needs and those of the company. This creates an understanding about how best to increase focus on the customer: the company’s north star.

Accountability to each member of the team is the idea that all employees of EdCo Luthiers deliver on what they say they will across all levels of the company. When looking to manage a culture, research indicates that creating accountability is better than having a formal approach to culture change (Rogers et al., 2006). Accountability means company management ‘walks the talk’ and expects the same from its employees. It also builds trust which improves the reception of information. Finally, accountability to the company’s customers is a core component of its customer commitment.

EdCo Luthiers’ Mission Statement

Many organizations consider a mission statement as a central and effective part of how they manage themselves (Stephenson et al., 2018). EdCo Luthiers is no different. Ward (2020) suggests there are three steps to creating a mission statement. First, the company must ask itself what it does? Second, it must ask how it does its work? Finally, it must determine why it does its work in this way? The first question is simple: EdCo Luthiers makes the best guitars it can.

The answer to the second question of how it does this is through its core values of teamwork, openness, and accountability. These core values create openness, trust, and transparency. Together, these three values enhance its customer commitment and use of sustainable supply chains that positively affect the environment, its final set of five core values. These address the last question of why it does this. This leads to a mission statement for the company: “EdCo Luthiers builds the best sustainable guitars by working as a single open and accountable team to provide our customers with an exceptional playing experience.” This single statement summarizes all the company’s core values with the primary focus on its commitment to its customers: the players who make music with their guitars.

Conclusion

Mission statements provide direction for the company but they must be based on concepts or values the organization finds important. For EdCo Luthiers, each of their five core values plays a part in its mission statement. These core values also enable openness, trust, and transparency which the founder of the company found lacking in previous companies he worked in. By building a company that instead embraces these ideas, he can create a meaningful mission statement that motivates EdCo Luthiers to provide the best musical instruments in an environmentally conscious way

References

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Ward, S. (2020, January 2). How to write a mission statement in 3 easy steps with examples. The Balance Small Business. Retrieved August 12, 2022, from https://www.thebalancesmb.com/how-to-write-a-mission-statement-2948001

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ZME Science. (2019, January 25). Harvesting sustainable wood for guitars: Mahogany. ZME Science. Retrieved May 20, 2022, from https://www.zmescience.com/ecology/guitar-wood-mahogany/

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Edwin Covert

Edwin Covert

Cybersecurity, guitar, jazz, bourbon, rye, enterprise security architecture, current trophy husband. CISSP-ISSAP, CISM, CRISC, SCF, PMP at www.edwincovert.com