Time to change the mission statement
Explaining the Mission Statement
Whilst many people may regard mission statements as corporate gumpf, they exist for a reason. Businesses need to signal to both staff and customers about their culture and how they are different from the competition. They hope that by defining who they are, they will be able to attract the best people and this in-turn will attract customers. But aren’t all mission statements the same?
Let’s be honest, if you work in a professional services business, your mission statement is likely to say something about your business being: ethical, sustainable, charitable, providing equal opportunities, and attracting and retaining the best people.
However, this is likely to be the same as other professional services businesses, so how do you clarify what makes you different? What defines your business and how can you best articulate this? This is something that many executives waste time fretting over because their businesses simply aren’t any different from the competition; they offer the same services and try to attract and retain the same people.
For professional services businesses, people are both their biggest problem and their greatest asset. Hire the wrong people and you risk damaging the business or losing money, find the right people and you can do great things but risk losing them to the competition if you can’t offer the things that are going to retain them.
So how do you attract and retain the best people? Pre-Covid-19 you may have tried to offer a pleasant and modern working environment, but with over 43% of office workers now saying that they want to work from home, a snazzy office is not where you need to focus your attention (source cnbc.com). Indeed, the benefits of working from home can be very attractive: no commute, more time with the family, zero travel costs, lower carbon emissions, etc.
Every business has had to equip staff for home working and the basics are simple, it’s about having the hardware (laptop, mobile phone), connectivity (internet, VPN) and communication tools (VOIP, screen sharing, cloud services, etc.). This is the ‘plumbing’ that needs to be there for things to work. So get those right and everyone will be happy, right?
Well no, because it’s how people get the job done that really counts. It’s not enough that all the elements are there to make it work, it needs to work in harmony and allow staff to focus on their roles rather than the mechanics of how to do them.
Early cars required drivers to continually adjust the choke and ignition timing whilst having to double de-clutch to change gear, and master an additional reverse pedal to go backwards. Driving required a high degree of skill and concentration as well as strength as there was no power steering. Heck, even the windscreen wipers were manual. If people need to juggle the technology to get the job done, they become frustrated and inefficient. Imagine the delight of the early motorists moving from a massively manual Ford Model T to a car with automatic transmission and an engine that just sorts itself out.
So, the challenge now for all management is how to make things run smoothly, because if they don’t, they are likely to lose staff to those businesses that do.
When users of our document and drawing management software Excitech DOCS were asked how they would feel if the product was no longer available to them, one answered:
‘I’ll hunt you down and take it back’
and another responded
‘I would have to consider working elsewhere because it would be a big step backwards for the company.’
This is how you want your staff to feel about the tools that they use to get their jobs done.
So perhaps your mission statement in the future will read something similar to ‘We offer the same services as our competition and support the same ethical, charitable and sustainability values that you would expect from a similar business, but we use technology which makes us more flexible and efficient and delights our staff and customers alike. People want to work both for, and with us because of our technological leadership.’
If document and drawing management software is something you feel that will help your company become a technology leader, take a look at our AEC checklist for buying a document management system.
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