How To Craft Mission & Vision That Actually Inspire
As small businesses grow into medium-sized enterprises, disconnects begin to arise between upper management and employees on the ground floor.
Yet, it’s highly unlikely that a poorly written mission or vision statement would be first to blame. To that, we ask why not?
Internal communication is highly undervalued in growing companies and, more often than not, it’s the reason why company culture derails once companies begin to grow.
Let’s get one thing straight, mission and vision statements are intended for employees. The mission statement justifies as a company’s existence, while the vision statement identifies the company’s objectives and is often adjusted to reflect their economic forecast.
According to a recent study, published by Management Communication Quarterly (2015), only 17.9% — to a maximum of 50% — of employees agree with the themes present in their company’s vision statement. That’s incredibly low. Moreover, most employees are only able to identify a mere 35% of the themes present in their company’s mission statement. Ouch…
In other words, less than a quarter of your employees agree with the company’s future direction, and the majority of your employees barely know why the company exists.
Consider that every time an employee interacts with a customer they become the face of your brand. This disconnect presents a vast number of missed opportunities for companies looking to reach their full potential.
How do we turn these numbers around?
Employees need substance and language that reflects reality. Create a mission statement that provides accessible, consistent messaging. This will help your employees relate to your company’s purpose.
As a result, employees feel empowered to adopt a broader understanding of their role, which aids to reduce the gap between leaders and followers.
ASK FOR INPUT
Picture your mission and vision statements as a game of telephone. Despite your best intentions, the likelihood that your message has changed before it reaches the last player is inevitable.
The same goes for your mission and vision statements. However, these statements are interpreted differently based on the experiences of your employees. By including their perspectives in your statements, you can help to generate a shared sense of purpose and an inspired working environment.
CONNECT THE DOTS
Message fatigue is incredibly common among vision statements and often leads to confused employees. On average, most employees are divided between two camps: those who believe they are helping to create a better world, and those who believe they are helping to create a better company.
By creating a clear vision statement that addresses both groups, and by supporting it with actions that reflect the statement, you’re more likely to mitigate misrepresentations of your brand.
In sum, set aside the superlatives and keywords and take an honest look at your company. Write down what you see, what you hope to see and how you hope to connect the two. Now, ask your employees to do the same. Compare your findings and combine your answers to create truthful mission and vision statements that speak to those who help make it a reality.
Not only will you notice a change in your company’s internal environment, but your brand’s external appearance will benefit as well.