I have always been fascinated by that feeling you get when you are totally engrossed in creating something new, and how you can develop it in others.
It’s a feeling that I would love to be able to bottle up and sell – it would be very valuable!
In any case my research and previous business experience, particularly in company turnarounds, have given me some insight into the subject and I would like to share that here.
To start with it is worth defining what we mean by this so called ‘Sense of Mission…’
- A sense of Mission is an emotional commitment the employees make towards the company’s purpose.
- This commitment is particularly strong when there is an alignment in the values of an organisation and those of the individual.
- These organisational values are rarely explicit and the employee invariably senses them through the company’s behaviour standards.
- Real emotional commitment comes when the employee identifies with the values and behaviours sitting behind the turnaround plan, and turns them into their own particular crusade with a sense of mission that goes far beyond their previous relationship with this or indeed any business.
And so to create this sense of mission, that everyone can get behind and feel proud to be a part of, you need to make sure the following are in place:
1. A business purpose that means something to non-shareholders
Most of us will have worked in situations where the business operation was completely geared towards making more money for the shareholders. My experiences of this were that it was completely de-motivating!
The purpose needs to be something that everyone is proud to tell their friends and family about to let them know they are part of something that is trying to make a difference! It might be that it is as simple as: “providing a world class service to our clients”.
2. A strategy that is designed to achieve the purpose
The strategy has to support this. For example, enough staff to provide this high level service and regular customer satisfaction surveys to confirm the service is working, should play a key part of the strategy.
3. A set of company values that resonate with individual values
If the corporate values are aligned to providing great service, individuals should then start to identify with these, and over what should be a relatively short period of time, closely align their own values and beliefs with those of the company.
4. Behaviours that everyone can be proud of
If the purpose, strategy and values are co-ordinated in this way, and most importantly the leaders of the organisation support this with their own actions, this will have the effect of creating a consistent set of behaviours from all employees.
This new found connectedness with and between all of the people will lead to a greater co-ordination of all the organisation’s resources and capabilities, which will not only support the turnaround strategy but also be of enormous benefit in creating a competitive advantage that is difficult for competitors to imitate, and therefore lead to a sustainable future.
Once this structure is in place, these factors should start to reinforce and resonate with each other, as illustrated in the Ashridge Mission Model above, and start to create a real sense of mission. This will help to engender an emotional commitment from all involved in the post turnaround business, giving the new vehicle the best chance of survival and growth.
As always, if you have any comments or experiences related to this article, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 0845 689 8750
Image by: Lollyman