Missions & Visions: Pillars of Successful Organizations

The practice of organisation is a critical function of management that frequently is taken for granted. In basic terms, it is imperative to identify and coordinate the what’s, why’s, how’s, where’s, when’s and who’s to succeed in any venture, whether business or other social services, efficiently and effectively. In my practice, I primarily work with Startups and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). One of my most notable observations is that many SMEs operate with a fixed mindset – simply flipping resources today without considering how to maximise current strengths and opportunities to drive sustainable growth for the future.

One of my clients, John, owns a restaurant. He is an excellent cook and does exceptionally well with coordinating kitchen staff and services. As a result, he started to get numerous requests to cater meetings and other larger events. However, John opened a juice jar in another town. In addition, John does fitness training in the mornings and evenings and freelance photography from time to time. John’s philosophy is to do whatever it takes to make him money right now. This system worked for some time. Eventually, his multiple income streams saw diminishing returns due to the lack of organisation. John had become stretched too thin. He is currently unable to deliver the best of anything that he offers. He is losing customers at the restaurant and has been unable to maintain momentum with his fitness trainees. We are currently working with John to pinpoint his mission – what is his current business priority, what his vision of success looks like, and finally, to develop a clear strategy to get there. In so doing, we can then help him control the scope and focus of his investment, thereby enabling him to create, manage and maximise more sustainable returns.

Application in MSMEs

Many SMEs operate without a clear mission or vision. This is often due to a lack of training and exposure. Still, in many cases, the proprietors do not adequately contemplate the power of their enterprise nor the potential to grow far beyond self-employment or the parochial small business. Some think that a mission or vision statement is only for the area of larger organisations with significant market share and pretty profit margins. At Visio HQ, we actively dismiss the small business mindset, emphasising “startups

Startups are business experiments, research, and development processes that precede innovation, disruption, and success in business.

Mark-Odean Grant

Startups must discover and create their ingredients for success and emulate successful enterprises’ appropriate properties and practices. Today we will explore the importance of a mission and a vision—two fundamental features of successful organisations.

There are many academic references about what acceptable mission and vision statements should entail. As a scholar, myself and a trained and experienced professional, I encourage my team, mentees, and clients to understand and appreciate the rigour of developing sound mission and vision statements. However, in practice, simplicity is your best friend. Your message should be brief, relatable, and memorable to quickly engage your key stakeholders’ interest, participation, and support. Startups are value experiments, the research and development process that precedes innovation, disruption, and a successful business.

Your Mission

Your mission is your big “WHY?”. It answers the questions: “why are you here,” “what do you do?” and “for who?” Your mission is not simply a statement; it is the fundamental purpose of your existence. At the minimum, your mission defines what makes you different from other players in your space. At best, it represents your unique identity, creates your own space, and makes you incomparable. Your mission statement must clearly articulate what you do now and whom you are serving. In addition, missions should effectively represent a capacity to serve stakeholders’ needs most practically. Here are some examples of grand mission statements:

  1. Visio HQ: “to help Jamaicans build great careers, create excellent learning organisations and develop successful businesses.”
  2. Grace Kennedy: “to satisfy the unmet needs of Caribbean people wherever we live in the world.”
  3. Google: “to organise the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”
  4. Microsoft: “to empower every person and every organisation on the planet to achieve more.”

Your Vision

Your vision is a glimpse of your successful destiny. It represents your ultimate success, the summit of fulfilling your mission and purpose. Your vision is not just a statement; it is the essence of your ambition to make an indelible mark on the world. It contemplates what’s next and helps you to position yourself to grow and get better. At the minimum, your vision seizes the future. At best, it defines your legacy. Visions should not just be ambitious but perhaps even audacious to ensure that there is a continuous source of challenge and motivation for your work.

Here are the fantastic vision statements for the missions stated above:

  1. Visio HQ: “to become a centre of excellence for disruption in talent management, startup development, and business networking in Jamaica.”
  2. Grace Kennedy: “to transform ourselves from a Jamaican trading company to a global consumer group with our roots in Jamaica.”
  3. Google: “to provide access to the world’s information in one click.”
  4. Microsoft: “to help individuals and businesses realise their full potential.”

Missions & Visions Evolve

The world is a dynamic place. Global trends and the increasing impact of travel, information and communication technology, e-commerce, and social media have revolutionised the industrial landscape. As a result, businesses and other organisations must be increasingly sensitive in their response to these changes. In worst-case scenarios, these changes present significant threats and may even render missions irrelevant. In best-case scenarios, these changes create more excellent opportunities to compete and even offer enhanced tools for success. Your mission and vision must evolve to contend with the dynamics of the industry. Your mission must maintain relevance to those you serve, and your vision must actively contemplate developments to keep you on target.

You are your mission, and you are becoming your vision. Are you willing to risk winging it? Missions and visions are critical features of successful organisations, whether a startup or a large enterprise. Your mission identifies you in the industry, and your vision epitomises your ultimate success. These critical instruments go a far way in charting your path by creating the context for your work, helping to engage your key stakeholders, and providing continuous challenge and motivation.

People, Talent & Learning: The Future of HR

Many startups are very focused on creating the best organisation to achieve their vision and strategic goals. When considering the introduction, role, and practice of an HR Professional to organisations—be wary of falling into the trap of the traditional HR Department. Why? Well, because it focuses more on personnel administration rather than leveraging people as the fundamental contributors and features of your company’s success. Companies must increasingly sharpen their strategic focus, which platforms an understanding and appreciation of the inherent quirks in the concept of “people”.

“People should not be managed. Instead, they should be lead.”

Mark-Odean Grant

An employee’s talents, performance, and related contributions to the organisation’s building and culture should be managed! For this drives productivity and achieves the bottom line.

Many organisations today are full of management capacity but lack effective leadership and growth. As a result, companies lose their competitive edge and even fail due to poor learning systems and a chronic failure to learn in general. Companies should strive to be configured as a people-focused, learning organisation. Only this way will they be able to grow, compete and survive in the dynamic and globalised marketplace of the 21st century.

People lead and participate in teams, which build up organisations. Talents gear performance and drive the achievement of organisational goals. Learning gives organisations a competitive advantage in the industrial environment. The future of HR is much more than a vision of administrating personnel only.

Alas, there is a better way. For in the future, no longer should ordinary HR practices exist. But instead, HR will understand the importance of leadership and leveraging people’s fundamental power as invaluable investors and strategic assets in our organisations. A strategic HR practice does not just push paper but drives influence and action as an indispensable business partner.

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Recognition & Gratitude: Underestimated Performance Tools

The success of any leader is highly dependent on the effectiveness of their team; leadership is never a solo piece. Many leaders and managers often fail to confess this reality, not only to their team members but also to themselves. Managers have long meetings, conferences, and press briefings where leaders get to shine and represent a job well done. Often, the folks in the background are not always adequately acknowledged and appreciated for their excellent work and outstanding efforts to achieve brilliant results.

Acknowledgement and appreciation are critical principles to ensure that while leaders shine bright like a diamond, team members are not lit fuses of dynamite glowing.

Mark-Odean Grant

Otherwise, an explosion would be avoidably inevitable. Growing up, I remember hearing the older folks saying, “encouragement sweetens labour.” In the society that we live in today, some people believe money is all. However, mere acknowledgement without financial rewards can greatly boost people’s morale and performance in many circumstances. We can acknowledge our team members in many ways that we often overlook. “Good job”, “excellent work”, and “I couldn’t have done it without you” are parked comments that many persons in leadership and management don’t even care to say these days. I’ve heard these remarks said to me before, and they have only had a positive impact, and they didn’t cost a penny. Though we may take it for granted that “people get paid”, these employees must also know that their leaders realise their contribution to the team’s success. Thus, some form of acknowledgement, whether public or private, is integral.

Acknowledgement gives an excellent opportunity for critical feedback. Feedback is never a problem when there is a negative outcome. I’m sure many can attest to this fact. However, feedback is equally essential when everything went as planned or there were positive results. A habit of acknowledging our team members creates an opportunity for feedback through a more open channel. Henceforth, this results in a situation with less tension. These circumstances are critical when the need for feedback about a lousy outcome arises. Teams are more open and responsive to leaders’ feedback in a negative situation when the same approach is utilised in a favourable situation. Additionally, it is counterproductive to wait for a performance appraisal to bring up all the bad stuff. And unfortunately, even if/when the good stuff is acknowledged, it matters less to team members had it been recognised earlier.

Expressing gratitude is a gift that keeps people doing their best.

Increasingly, financial motivation is becoming a problematic fete to maintain. Businesses are downsizing, economising, or reorganising! But, that doesn’t mean that our teams should suffer from what I’d like to call: appreciation deficiency syndrome (ADS). This syndrome is where our team members measure their work to ensure that they do “just enough” or only what is required because there is no financial or emotional reward. Often, leaders settle for 100%, which seems all right, but doesn’t quite represent the best that our teams can produce. 100% is only our initial best. If humans are constantly learning, then the mark for best is continuously advancing as we improve.

We all can relate: if we wrote a paper, we considered our best to date, then rewrote it a month later—our best, in many cases, would have advanced to becoming a better best. The great effort’s lack of reinforcement occurs when folks do their best, but appreciation is not expressed. Instead, it becomes unacknowledged and even punished, I dare say. It is reasonable to expect that any advances toward a better best become stalled.

Henceforth, saying “thank you” is so refreshing to the ears of the woefully unacknowledged. After all, don’t we all love to hear those words? Expressing gratitude demonstrates good character and inspires those around us to continue doing their best in the team and attain their best. Good leaders never do all the work but inspire and influence team members to achieve whatever goals and objectives. As such, it is an excellent practice to platform our teams, acknowledging their work and letting them shine. Remember that leaders are part of a team, the ultimate team player!

We must lead by empowering team members to attain their better best and expressing appreciation for their efforts and contributions to our success.