Your organization's mission explains why the organization exists and how it contributes to the world around it. The type of culture you build is an enabler of accomplishing your mission. Leaders need to explain how the culture they're building is linked to the mission they're trying to accomplish every day. High-performance cultures stand for something. They represent an ideal or a goal that people can get behind. Sometimes it's defined by the organization's position relative to competitors.
- One critical thing you need to do is link your purpose to your culture. Your mission is your purpose, it explains why the organization exists and how it contributes to the world. The culture you build is an enabler of accomplishing your mission. High performance cultures stand for something, the vision and mission represent an ideal or a goal that people can get behind. Sometimes it's defined by your position relative to competitors, or financial performance, those are okay but they don't drive culture.
Powerful visions and missions describe what you do for customers. They can even be about the organization's contribution to society. Leaders need to explain how the culture they're building is linked to the mission they're trying to accomplish. They need to define this calling for the organization. Let's look at an example of how a vision and a mission tie to a culture you're trying to build. For my firm, we're a leadership development and training firm, our mission is to advance the art of business leadership through hands-on training and coaching led by dynamic business people.
Our vision is to be a global firm of uniquely skilled executives who teach managers around the world how to be great leaders. My shorthand for our vision is I'm trying to build the McKenzie of training. McKenzie is a global management consulting firm, they're very well thought of in their industry and I was fortunate enough to work there for a while. I'd like to build the same thing but instead of it being management consulting, I want to do it for leadership development.
Now there are implications for every word and every phrase in our vision and mission that tell the team how they should behave. Let's break this down. Our mission is to advance, that means generate new ideas and new perspectives. The art of business leadership, we have to embrace that different leaders have different approaches, it's not formulaic, it's an art form. We have a leadership focus to our work in terms of the content we generate and who we work with.
We're hands-on, we build things that are practical and teachable versus just talking about theory. Our instructors are dynamic, I want high energy, I want them to be unique, I want them to bring their personality to the classroom. We're global, we seek out global clients, we build global perspectives, we understand and respect different cultures. Our team will be uniquely skilled, I want to celebrate our differences and know that diversity makes us stronger.
And lastly, the reason we do all of this is teaching managers how to be great leaders. It helps us focus on specific types of content and skill building that we'll deliver for our clients. It talks to who we serve and how we help them. So looking at all those elements of our vision and mission, you can hopefully see how it ties back to my desire to build this McKenzie of training. This global firm that's seen as one of the leaders in the space.
Take some time and take your vision and mission, break it down, look at every single element of those two items, understand how each item in that vision and mission link to the culture you're trying to build. If the link is clear, that's great, you'll want to emphasize that with the team. If you can't find the linkage, maybe it's time to reword your vision and mission statement.
- Identify the components of high-performing cultures.
- Assess and evaluate your current culture.
- Define high performance.
- Create a compelling vision and mission.
- Compare and contrast communication vehicles.
- Explain what culture is and list ways to reinforce it.
- Identify tools for measuring and balancing results.