In The Workplace

A newly hired chief executive officer (CEO) tasked our human resource (HR) department with hiring an external expert to create vision, mission and values (VMV) statements within a month. Will you do it for us? — Lone Ranger.

No plan or program will work without the enlightened participation of the CEO and senior management team. This is especially true as an organization begins to professionalize its structure. I’m not sure if I understand you. Do you mean that I come up with the VMV myself?

Of course I can do it, except that it may not reflect the aspirations, character and ideals of your management. The process must have the active participation of those sitting at the top of your organization’s pyramid.

The HR department must take the lead in concretizing the VMV with the help of external technical experts. Their job is to facilitate the creation of VMV statements providing direction and developing a bone structure that must be completed with flesh and blood content by top management.

The job of an external technical expert or consultant is to facilitate the creation of VMV statements. It’s wrong for the expert consultant, no matter how good they are, to formulate the VMV out of thin air. Everything, from the content and process, must be driven by the creativity, enthusiasm and expertise of the senior management team, which knows the ins and outs of the industry.

The CEO and his team must consider the three vital elements in corporate visioning that are necessary for the organization to beat the competition and sustain it for the long term. These must be done in three days, with one day each dedicated to orientation and team building, problem-solving and decision-making.

One, shared corporate vision. The CEO and his team must work together so the details of their corporate vision are articulated and clarified. It’s like capturing a bolt of lightning and transforming it into a powerful sentence to reflect a shared mutual commitment.

One good example of a corporate vision is that of Globe Telecom: “We see a Philippines where families’ dreams come true, businesses flourish, and the nation is admired.” The Walt Disney Co.’s vision statement is short and simple: “To make people happy.”

Two, shared mission statement. This is a statement of purpose designed to inspire all employees to commit to the company’s mission. Writing a mission statement involves answering four questions: Who are we? What do we do? For whom do we do it? Why do we do it?

One good example of a mission statement that answers all these four questions can be found in Meralco’s mission: “To provide our customers the best-value energy solutions — reliably, affordably, superbly, and sustainably.”

Three, shared corporate values. An organization united by a shared vision and mission can’t do without shared values that guide not only the way each individual employee performs their task but how they treat one another. A model example of value statements is that of the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI):

“We value integrity, professionalism, and loyalty. We promote a culture of mutual respect, meritocracy, performance, and teamwork. We strive to be the employer of choice among Philippine financial institutions.”

The contributions of each and every management participant in the three-day visioning process must be emphasized. The quickest way to do this is to create an atmosphere of a new beginning to help clarify any confusion or uncertainty. It’s important to realize, though, that such new beginnings don’t happen overnight.

Your organization must energetically create the right environment for it. This can be done through a broad range of activities that include a half-day corporate-wide seminar for all workers, overhauling the performance appraisal system to emphasize meritocracy over seniority, promoting regular engagement dialogues, or creating and organizing training programs designed to close the gaps.

The company website and annual reports must be overhauled to incorporate the VMV. In addition, aim to host a monthly town hall meeting with the CEO where prizes are handed out to those who can answer questions on the company’s VMV and where two or three employees give brief talks on how they’ve successfully practiced it in their work.

There will be resistance to change. But when it happens, the issue must be dealt with by management. If left unaddressed or mishandled, it will create organizational inertia that will disrupt the change process.


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