The business community has recognized that maximizing collaboration - both within and beyond a company - can add significant value. Organizations can benefit from considering and aligning the broader interests of stakeholders in addition to the focusing on the interests of shareholders. Thus, yesterday's corporate culture buzzword - "mission statement" - is being replaced by a much more inclusive concept: shared mission. This piece looks at what a shared mission is, its benefits and how to approach building one for your company.
From mission statement to shared mission
A mission statement summarizes an organization's purpose. This purpose typically has been dictated from above, with a keen eye on the bottom line. A shared mission, however, incorporates the missions of individuals within a workforce. It defines a purpose that allows everyone involved within the organization to share a value that addresses broader components beyond financial such as social, community and environmental elements.
Benefits of establishing a shared mission
The main benefit of a shared mission is that it fosters a sense of ownership throughout the workforce. This can translate not only into increasing the passion and loyalty of its employees, but also enhancing innovation and creativity. The employee is now part of the mission, not merely executing one. An ancillary benefit could be a community that supports the organization's fundamental values.
Building a shared mission
Selecting a shared mission is easier said than done, but there are clear steps to build and maintain one:
- Start instilling your shared mission immediately. Building a shared mission starts during the interview process and first day of employment with the organization. Leaders and those involved with the hiring and training processes instill the shared mission immediately, making it each employees' focus and important part of their performance.
- The Trickle-down approach. A shared mission should be embraced and followed by the highest leaders in the organization, creating an environment for its workforce to do the same. While the introduction can mean everything to anyone interested in employment with your organization, continuing to show how leadership embraces it will trickle-down from top-level management, to mid-level to entry-level employees.
- Design recognition programs for your shared vision. While incorporating your shared vision starts even before employment, it is critical to keep your shared vision as the focus of the organization. Continue to provide training and incentives for employees to keep your shared vision as part of their responsibilities at work and in their personal lives. It will not only keep them motivated at work, but motivate them to incorporate your shared vision in their communities.
Collaboration is the latest organization wave. Mission statements primarily for shareholders are being swept away by the shared missions of stakeholders. Organizations that craft and implement shared missions will have smoother sailing ahead.