Marwa Fakher shares some inspirational memories of how she was positively impacted by a forward-thinking company
Thirteen years ago, when I was still at college, I attended a public seminar that was held at the headquarters of one of the biggest home appliance manufacturers in Egypt. Apart from being inspired by the seminar, what really caught my eye that day were several medium-sized frames that were beautifully hung on the walls and displaying the company’s information. My attention was particularly drawn to:
a. The company’s mission describing its organizational business.
b. The company’s vision describing where the organization was headed and wished to be in the future.
c. How it served as a “North Star” to provide focus and motivation for the management and the staff.
The messages were created to extend thinking beyond operational daily activities in a clear and inspirational way, and whilst reading, I was inspired by the thought “This is the kind of company I would love to work for”. Having such a clear, powerful message made even a college student want to work there right away!
Two years after attending the seminar, I actually joined the company and worked there for seven years. It was a great decision on my part, because during the whole time of my employment I remained engaged and motivated and felt supported by the company’s culture.
Due to its financial success, positive and productive employees and strong market presence, that local company was eventually acquired by a leading home appliances manufacturer, and is operating today as a multinational.
Looking back, I believe their Mission and Vision had a lot to do with their success as it created a clear, unified corporate culture. So much so, that a worldwide leading company saw them as an attractive acquisition.
Think Local, Act Global
A company’s Mission and Vision are the cornerstone for the establishment of any organization, and it’s worth noting how multinationals differ from an immense number of local companies regarding this topic. Practices have differed, but results always speak the loudest and local companies need them now more than ever to survive and flourish in a market where competition, consumer behavior, and talent pools are dramatically changing. Recently, some companies have introduced the concept of a “Purpose Statement” in addition to Mission and Vision. The Purpose Statement addresses the question of “What is the organization’s ultimate purpose beyond commercial and financial success?”
My guidance for local companies
If you’re a local business leader today and would like to see your Mission and Vision working marvelously for you, then here are three solid points that will guide you in helping your company take a leap forward in today’s fast-paced world.
1. Start with the Why and build around it.
According to Deloitte’s Millennial Survey 2015, 60% of their 7,800 millennial respondents reported that they chose to join their current employer in part because of the organization’s “sense of purpose”. Ever thought of Uber’s mission statement? “Transportation as reliable as running water, everywhere for everyone.” “Why build Uber? Because it sucks to be stranded without easy access to reliable transportation.”
2. Communicate Your Vision
Make sure that your vision statement is extended beyond an inspirational declaration on a wall. You need to sell your Mission and Vision to your employees before you start selling your products and services to consumers. When you decide on a vision, be sure that all of your leaders act in alignment with that vision, as they will be the role models for the rest of the employees. Once you, your leaders and your company start believing in the vision, then customers and consumers will be willing to buy in as well.
3. It’s Never Too Late
Don’t have a Mission and Vision yet? That’s okay, it’s never too late to define them, and it will definitely be a case of better late than never, as many companies renew them, or even reinvent them.
Various approaches for developing a Vision and Mission range from online tools, work groups, team coaching days, or hiring a consultant. Regardless of the approach, it’s important that your Mission and Vision not only exists, but is translated into actionable steps to attract and retain talent.
Implementing a strategic planning model that breaks down the Mission and Vision statements into strategies, objectives, action plans and scorecards is a sure way to ensure your organization can achieve its short term goals whilst keeping sight of the long term overall direction. It will serve to strengthen your organization’s culture through a unified sense of purpose, improved decision- making and cross-functional relationships and give clarity about the big picture and a collective understanding of priorities.
To make your company stand out, and to have both clients and potential employees viewing you as their preferred choice, your Vision, Mission and Purpose statements and the daily process of living them must be a priority. It is the gateway to developing a positive, proactive corporate culture and a key step through the gateway to success.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Marwa Fakher has been in the learning and performance development profession for the past 11 years. She has worked at multiple local and multinational organisations where she has led and contributed to various culture change projects. She is a freelance life coach and in her spare time she passionately writes under the pseudonym: Farida Fakher.