We have a Mission and a Vision. Now What?
I recently had lunch with a client, and we were talking through what he described as a dysfunctional leadership team. He had been on the team a short while and was already frustrated with the bickering and polarized camps.
The company had a clearly articulated mission and vision. It had a very mature business plan and a large, capable, employee complement. Still, there was a problem.
There seemed to be a gap between the organization’s mission, vision, and the day-to-day business of the company. In my opinion, that was the problem. The leadership team did not have tangible, practical objectives.
When I was with the Red Cross, we had been involved with the recovery of a plane crash. A small plane crashed through the ice of Lake Erie killing all aboard. The Ontario Provincial Police were the lead agency, and the inspector in charge had taken the time to write: “Objective: recover the casualties and investigate the cause of the crash and at all times treat the families of the victims with the utmost respect and dignity” on a whiteboard in the operations centre. It was the operation’s mission statement.
That simple, yet profoundly important, sentence written on the wall of a fire hall ensured that we checked our egos at the door and focused on one practical objective.
My prospective client’s problems were not as dire as a plane crash, but without mutually agreed upon objectives, egos and personal biases take over – to the detriment of the mission and vision.