While your firm may truly be a great place to work, you can’t effectively convey its greatness by simply stating, “It’s a great place to work.”
A company’s operations are driven by its culture. And while cultures oftentimes bubble beneath the surface, successful companies properly nurture these core values until they bloom into guiding lights.
So, what’s your firm’s mission statement? Can it be easily articulated? Are employees held accountable to these core values?
Western Allied Mechanical (WAM), a 50-year-old, Menlo Park, California-based design-build firm, agreed it was time to revise its vision. And while WAM’s intentions were good, more than a year after its initial push, company leaders found themselves stuck in neutral.
“We brainstormed ideas, though, as a group of engineers, we realized that we weren’t really the best with words,” said Joe Chin, senior project manager, WAM. “We kept getting stuck on being creative or cute and trying to create acronyms. Over time, we lost our focus because, collectively, we were concentrating on running a company.”
WAM hired a third-party consultant, who conducted internal and external interviews, held the team to tight deadlines, and energized the process. Using the consultant’s feedback, the company unearthed much more than it bargained for.
“We learned that our customer service was exceptional,” Chin said. “But we also found some things to improve upon. We learned we’re spread a bit too thin and that we need to explore some additional training. This process definitely helped us figure some things out.”
WAM emerged with new core values, such as “Driven by Innovation,” “Grounded in Care,” and “Dedicated to Teamwork.” To drum up some excitement, the company unveiled its newly coined vision during an off-site dinner complete with branded mugs, cups, and prizes.
“We knew nobody was going to buy into this unless they could see how excited the leadership team was about it,” Chin said. “This event also allowed us to experience our culture in a non-work environment.”
The changes injected a shot of adrenaline within the company’s operations, said Chin.
“There’s an excitement surrounding the new vision, and people are actually buying into it and living by it,” he said.
COVID-19 has ushered in a sense of professional fragility. Several firms have been forced to eliminate outstanding employees and others may have no choice but to issue pink slips later this year. If and when these “free agents” approach your firm, how will you showcase the aptitude of your company?
A strong vision drives employee behavior by giving each action a purpose, instills a sense of accountability, and inspires employees to connect with customers. Core values are the essential ingredients to a winning recipe.
When’s the last time you optimized your firm’s mission? Don’t hesitate to clearly define the company’s trajectory, as you can’t envision success without a clearly defined vision.