Revisit Your Mission: Strengthen Corporate Culture and Better Serve Your Employees and Clients.

Heidi Clark

Heidi Clark

By Heidi Clark, COO,CHO, Redfish Technology, Inc.

Change. It’s something that we naturally resist and yet is a very important part of any organization.  Redfish is, has been and always will be changing.  Since we opened our doors fifteen years ago, we’ve seen many cycles and shifts of the market – from the Dot Com to the Dot Bomb to the 2007 Recession.  We’ve seen the highest highs in the tech market and the lowest lows. As Redfish has grown, so have we and in that growth there has been a deepening of purpose.  In our efforts to embrace and reflect this change, reviewing our mission statement becomes our first priority.

Corporate culture has always been very important to us.  I look around the office today, it’s Monday, music is loud, the office is aglow, people are dressed for afternoon workouts and some are business casual, the sun is shining in, hitting the lanterns that hang from the ceiling, the energy is starting to flow, people are excited – we’ve just placed two more!! I look around and ponder, “What do we stand for?” “Is it the same core that we started with?” This is obviously a question that cannot be answered by me alone.  It’s time to remember (again) what our goal is; to revisit our Mission statement and make sure that it’s an action that’s applicable to our organization right now and into our bright future.  And, the mission statement directly affects the corporate culture so we need to make sure everything jives.

This process is something that I look forward to. It’s a chance to connect on a visionary level with each member of our team.  It’s a place where we can unite and focus our efforts.  We want to be able to better define our culture, to get everyone excited about our vision and our mission.

It’s common to get stumped on how to move forward when you’re reviewing your mission statement.  You have a beautifully written one already, why would you change?  Here are some reasons to revisit your mission and some quick steps to take if you choose to make a change.

One of the reasons to make a change is that  you want a mission statement that each and every employee can focus on and move towards every day.

– Is your statement simple?
– Can your employees remember it?
– Does it give your team a focus?
– Is your statement motivating?
– Is this statement representing who you are internally and is it answering how you represent your organization externally to your clients?

There’s a story that my teacher once told that exemplifies this point on simplicity and on the value of having a goal people can remember and maintain focus on while doing day to day activities:

There were two men working, when a tourist approached and asked what they were doing.  The first man replied “I am working on squaring a stone”.  When she asked the second man the same question his reply was “I am building a cathedral”.  The first man is a good worker who understands/is focused on his task; however, the second man understands how his task affects the greater goal.

Take a look at your statement.  Does it represent who you are as an organization today and where you are headed? What about your office culture? Does it reflect your values and what you deem important? If not, maybe you need a fine-tuning.

There are a lot of different ways to do this.  I think starting out with some simple, albeit profound, questions like:

– Why are we here?
– What do we stand for?
– What are 2-3 words that explain why our organization is on the planet?
– What beliefs guide our work?

Taking time to have members of your organization answer these questions and then compare their answers with the actual statement is an easy way to see if you’re on course. It may be that nothing needs to be changed in the actual statement. Maybe it’s reintroducing or highlighting the importance of your mission to your organization.

This process of revision or reinvention will help you have a pulse on what motivates your employees and reinforce an open trusting relationship.  The mission statement provides the foundation upon which corporate culture is built: the stronger the mission statement, the stronger the culture. The stronger the culture; the stronger the buy-in from employees.  The stronger the buy-in from employees; the lower the turn-over.  And, of course, strong buy-in and low turn-over means higher productivity; this is the platform for providing a superior service or product to your clients.