Vision and values…so what?
KARL R. LAPAN, PRESIDENT & CEO, THE NIIC
Vision and values are great, but they are only a good as the systems that back them up. Without leadership and reinforcement from the top, these guidelines fall flat and become idealist and unmeaningful to people.
Change is constant, but it’s possible to keep vision and values consistently active, with the right mindset and actions. Following are three tips I believe companies of all sizes and across all industries can adopt::
Be strong (and consistent) in your identity and desires.
Knowing who you are and what you want is one thing, but broadcasting that to the world is another animal. And what about your internal messaging? Inconsistencies will no doubt surface and come back to bite you.
A clear and entirely cohesive expression of your vision lays a strong foundation for the values to follow. Building a vision is an opportunity to align vision and values into your business model.
Think of Disney World, for example. There is perhaps the no better example of what it means to empower associates to wow guests—and do whatever it takes to create memories. Vision, values, and execution are all aligned with Disney’s customer mantra – creating happiness for people of ages. They indeed stumble at times, but they strive for perfection but settle for excellence.
Lead, train and reinforce—and repeat. Learn from mishaps and service failures.
The most effective companies have leaders who celebrate and highlight successes, reinforce the brand promise by continuously learning and innovating. Such concepts should be infiltrated into regular discussions, coaching sessions, sales meetings, employee evaluations and more.
Locally, I think 3Rivers Federal Credit Union is a great example. They have a strong track record of promoting from within and have consistently been recognized for Employee Engagement and Workplace Excellence awards by Peter Barron Stark Companies. Interacting with Jim and Don, they put a lot of effort into employee development and creating “field trip” experiences that provide the basis for helping their team members think differently—about their customers, how they serve them, and how they deliver value each day. 3Rivers gets it. Values and vision must be part of the company’s DNA, not an afterthought.
Always be innovating.
If you truly want to retain talent and your customers, you must reinforce your values with real examples of the desired behavior regularly. Sometimes that might mean evolving the things that define your organization and what differentiates it. Regardless of the direction you take, you must have strong safeguards that keep your vision and values alive so that you can push forward.
How does your company put vision and values into account? I’m eager to hear about your experiences.