Why these basics are critical to your success
Part 2 of a blog series about my VIEW for Success model, where we dive deep into the elements you need to create a Vibrant Inclusive Engaged Workplace. This unique approach integrates all the important aspects of effective leadership into a cohesive perspective, and its flexibility lets you determine your own path to success.
If you want your business to thrive, create a vibrant workplace where all of your employees are engaged and doing their best work. Lots of things go into nurturing a positive workplace culture, but it all rests on three fundamental pieces: purpose, strategy and brand. Without these things in place, your business is at risk for failure.
So it’s worth taking some time to make sure your organizational foundations are strong. Walk through these critical basics to get a sense of what they are about, and then you can assess how well your business is doing.
1. Purpose: What is your reason for being?
You know the saying: If you don’t know where you are going, how will you know when you get there? A clear purpose—what you are doing, why and how—is a must for every business. Purpose is how leaders guide people’s energy and talents toward a common goal. There is a reason every Fortune 500 company has mission, vision and value statements.
- Your organization’s mission (why you exist) should be clearly expressed to your employees and customers.
- You must offer a coherent leadership vision (where you are going) that inspires yourself and your people toward something bigger. People want to contribute to something meaningful in their work, so make sure your vision is compelling and clearly communicated.
- Your organizational values (what you stand for) establish standards for behavior and decision-making. People are more engaged when their work aligns with their personal values.
It is important to note that organizations that don’t live their values can have big problems with conflict and poor morale. In her book Dare to Lead, Brené Brown recommends that work teams create a shared definition for values, so they are reflected in everyone’s actions and behaviors.
2. Strategy: How will you get there?
Strategy moves your organization from vision to results. It requires planning and prioritizing, assessing and revising. A strong strategic planning process takes a three-pronged approach:
- Identify potential strategic initiatives. Get clear on the big questions. Who are your customers? Where do your products fit into the marketplace? What are your organization’s strengths, opportunities and aspirations? You don’t have to answer these questions perfectly to see great strategic ideas emerge. Brainstorm a big list of potential concepts with your team.
- Prioritize your strategic initiatives to three or fewer. Consider what it would take to develop the concepts, and keep in mind what is realistic for your organization’s resources. A common theme that ties all the initiatives together can be very motivating!
- Create a plan and structure that sets your team up to successfully execute the initiatives: clear project plans, defined roles and responsibilities, timelines and budgets. Assign each initiative a champion to keep the project on track and work through roadblocks.
3. Brand and Reputation: Why should people trust you?
Your organization’s brand encompasses all the things people think and feel about your business. You don’t have total control over your brand and reputation, but you can do a lot to influence perceptions. And the people who are most important to convince are those working for you. As Gallup found, an organization’s “brand promise lives and dies by its employees and their ability to consistently act on it.”
Your employees, as they fulfill their roles and interact with your customers, are sending messages (sometimes literally on social media) about whether your organization truly does the things you say you do. So it pays to be deliberate about how you build your brand. It is important to be sure your employees are engaged and supported. Your branding activities should highlight your organization’s purpose and invite your audience to connect with you on their own terms. Here are a few universal basics to keep in mind:
- Define your brand identity. Explain what your organization does and what you stand for.
- Identify your audience. Look at your mission, vision and values to determine one or two target audience niches. Hone your products and messages to fit their needs and expectations.
- Tell your story. Share your organization’s purpose and passion with your audience and your employees. Use a variety of media channels that reach your audiences, and get involved in events that reflect your values and enhance your reputation.
With the fundamentals of purpose, strategy and brand in place, your organization has the long-term stability necessary to create a thriving, inclusive workplace. Next we will focus on developing confident leadership at your workplace. In the meantime, if you want some support in strengthening your organizational foundations, reach out to me today at Integrated Success.
Yours in success,
Linda is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Integrated Success HR Consulting & Coaching. She is a Gallup-certified Strengths Coach and a leader in strengths-focused development. Integrated Success works with organizations in developing effective teams and human resources practices to bring out the best of individuals for their own success and that of the organization. That’s why we say Integrated Success is the engine behind individuals and organizations thriving!