Move your company forward by recognizing that it is a business; acknowledge that customers and owners are its primary constituencies; and understand that strategy, culture and vision are tools for delivering products to customers and returns to owners. Connections to community and service are fine values, but they’re also investments that generate returns in talent attraction and retention, and in corporate reputation.
Therefore, you should focus your leadership efforts on creating seven statements that provide guidelines to current operations and a path to the future:
- Statement of purpose explaining why your company exists.
- Statement of the company’s competitive advantage and core competencies.
- Value Proposition for your customers.
- Value Proposition for your leadership and/or owners.
- Vision statement that frames the company’s future direction.
- Values and ethics statement that defines the company’s culture, describes the organization as a place to work, and is directed at employees.
- Strategy proposition, founded upon the value propositions, that ties together the vision of the future with sources of competitive advantage and the values of the workplace.
Each of these needs to be operationalized, measured, and reviewed regularly in the spirit of continuous improvement.
Well-crafted, widely disseminated statements of purpose, competitive advantage, and value propositions are helpful in reminding employees, customers and investors about the essence and purpose of an organization, and form the foundation of a business plan. In contrast, sloppy, generic statements generate apathy and cynicism at best, and active resistance and sabotage at worst.
Which will you choose?