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Core Communication Pieces – Have you reviewed Mission Statement lately?

May 15, 2019

By Terrie James, Corporate Communications

Refreshing Values

When’s the last time you thought about your company’s values – those expressed beliefs or principles that guide your organization’s conduct as well as its relationships with customers, partners, and shareholders. Ideally, your values still accurately reflect your company and your employees are living them out with every interaction. But it’s just as likely your company has grown, you’ve hired a slew of new employees, or you’ve adapted your business model to address new market challenges – and if you gave your values serious thought, you’d have to admit they no longer adequately reflect your company or its culture. In either case, if it’s been five to seven years since you established your values, it’s time to consider a refresh.R

Refresher Course

When established values are on point and promoted, they can align your workforce and help reinforce a strong, healthy company culture. That, in turn, helps companies withstand the inevitable economic ups and downs and market shifts with little turmoil. But even if your 1990s values still hold true, they’re probably getting a bit worn. Who doesn’t list “Integrity” or “Innovation” among their values? Hip companies, that’s who. Of course, the principles behind these values will never lose their cool, but when you think about the talent your company is competing for today, it might be time to say it in a new way. Look at some of the fresh and unconventional ways companies are characterizing their values:

  • Fast is better than slow
  • Make money without doing evil
  • Be a sponge
  • Evolve immediately
  • Do the right thing
  • Master the fundamentals
  • We are on the offense – always
  • Follow The Golden Rule
  • Substance over flash
  • Don’t take yourself too seriously
  • Maintain perspective
  • Good work takes time
  • Be courageous
  • Innovate through experimentation
  • Be rigorous. Get it right.
  • Think big, have fun, and do good
  • Embrace and drive change
  • Be adventurous, creative, and open-minded

Cultural Shifts

When your company experiences a fundamental change – think an acquisition that doubles your workforce or a new market focus that requires you to hire more sales people and less R&D talent – your culture can undergo the equivalent of a tectonic shift. Why does that matter? While often more implied than defined, your culture is your company’s personality. For your values to be “livable,” they must authentically reflect the company’s personality. If your company has undergone a big change in the past few years, its personality is likely to have changed as well – it’s probably time to take a fresh look at your values to ensure they align with the current company and the direction it is moving. A Mission Statement can come into play here too. A mission statement declares an organization’s purpose, or why it exists. That often includes a general description of the organization, its function, and its objectives. It may also elude to its vision – where the company aspires to be.

Perhaps your company is still living your 90s values, or maybe you created them more as a managerial exercise than a strategic maneuver. We’re not judging. But ask yourself if those values, whether posted on your website or piled under a stack of files, are the best they can be for your company today, because values matter. And when they are fresh and truthful, they can be a powerful tool for companies that embrace them.