By January 21, 2015

Your values, mission, & vision in play

You’re pumped. You’re fired-up. You’re feeling awesome. You just landed on a powerful set of values, crystal-clear mission, and a Big-Hairy-Audacious-Goal (or big vision) equivalent to climbing Mt. Everest.

You can’t wait to start using these core elements to lead your team, build a culture of A-players, and create a customer base of raving fans.

But how?

Putting your values, mission, and vision to work

The answer is simple in theory, challenging in practice: over-communication. Meaning you seize every opportunity to frame business wins, challenges, decisions, and recognition by your values, mission, and vision.

Why? Because you want them to come alive within your culture—be living, breathing, and permeating (not reduced to platitudes or clichés).

The challenge

At this point, many leaders hesitate. Either they fear sounding overly repetitive, or (as organizational health expert, Patrick Lencioni, explains in his book The Advantage) “…many leaders struggle to embrace organizational health because they quietly believe they are too sophisticated, too busy, or too analytical to bother with it.”

Lencioni further asserts that most leaders confuse the mere transfer of information to an audience with the audience’s ability to understand, internalize, and embrace the message being communicated. However, the only way that people can embrace a message is to hear it over a period of time, in a variety of different situations, and preferably from different people.

The abundance of research around employee engagement shows us that business leaders who intentionally and consistently focus on culture (the “soft” stuff) see a return on their investment and superior business performance (the “hard” numbers).

Additionally, over-communication does not have to mean sounding like a broken-record. With some planning, thoughtfulness, creativity, and conviction you can move your values, mission, and vision beyond the planning session and into play.

How to over-communicate

Here’s a list of over-communication strategies successfully practiced by many of our clients:

  1. Define: Write down personal definitions of your values, mission, and vision. Capture the nuances of their meanings and why they are on target for your company.
  2. Share: Practice describing your values, mission, and vision to others (both in your professional and personal worlds); learn how to articulate what they mean to you.
  3. Employ: Filter every decision, both large and small, by your values, mission, and vision. Ask yourself and your team, “Is this decision in line with our values? Are we delivering on our mission? Does this move us closer towards our big vision?”
  4. Coach: Lean heavily on your values when coaching employees, and help them understand if their decisions and behaviors are in line with your core elements. Expect the same of your leadership when they coach their teams.
  5. Recognize: Thank your people for upholding your values, mission, and vision both formally and informally.
  6. Repeat: Weave your values, mission and vision into every team meeting; frame decisions, goals, initiatives, recognition, etc… by them as often as possible.
  7. reitmeier_values_posterWrite: Incorporate your values, mission, and vision language into emails, contracts, website, job descriptions, etc…
  8. Visualize: Design icons to symbolize your values, create signage or other high-impact visuals to brand your office space. Note: we don’t recommend making this move in isolation from the other over-communication strategies; walk your talk before hanging posters.

Measuring success

When will you know your values, mission, and vision are living and breathing within your culture? When you hear your employees use the language as part of everyday conversation, as decision making tools, and as a way to recognize one another.

Not to mention—when new employees and customers choose you because they believe in and live similar principles.

This won’t happen overnight, or even in a month or two. But if you practice over-communication day-in and day-out, you will experience a powerful transformation within your company.

And remember, your team takes cues from you. If you visibly champion and lead by your values, mission, and vision, each and every employee (if they are A-players) will proudly carry the mantel along with you.

So get pumped. Get fired-up. Feel awesome. Because soon these core elements will provide the foundation for something truly remarkable.

Interested in learning how Kinesis helps service-centric firms transform their marketing from the inside out? Give us a call at (503) 922–2289, or fill out the contact form below.

ABOUT Marcella Vail

Marcella Vail is a Senior Strategist at Kinesis, where she works closely with small business owners to develop actionable marketing and business strategies that get results. With over fifteen years of strategic marketing experience, Marcella’s passion for business and her “let’s make it happen” attitude make her a perfect partner for businesses on the quest for growth. Feel free to connect with Marcella on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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