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Corporate Values are usually displayed at all prominent places, and violation of values occurs in the shadow of these displays; like cars are parked right under No Parking sign. Like, government and private hospitals put up plaques at various places saying ‘Bakhsheesh’ is not allowed, and the attendants take it forcefully under these signs. I visited the offices of a large “Development Authority’ and just before the entrance there were five flexes saying very alarming things about bribery. The employees pass by these flexes several times in a day, but it does not stop them from asking for and taking bribes. The point is that the values do not get rooted just by displaying on the wall. More on how to change culture, later.
Another favorite display is Vision and Mission of the organization. There are even more serious issues with these.
Firstly, the concept of vision and mission is not clear. Secondly, many times these are used alternatively. Thirdly, the language is flowery because it has been written by someone for the sake of making a feel-good statement.
Let us look at vision and mission in some detail.
A vision statement is a concise and inspiring declaration of what an organization aspires to achieve in the future. It represents the organization’s long-term goals, aspirations, and the impact it aims to make on the world. A well-crafted, real, vision statement provides a sense of direction and purpose, motivating employees, and stakeholders to work toward a shared future. The vision statement focuses on the future and sets a long-term goal that the organization strives to achieve over a significant period, often spanning several years or even decades.
A vision statement emphasizes the desired outcome or impact that the organization intends to create. It articulates the ideal state the organization wishes to reach. For example, “To be the global leader in sustainable energy solutions, revolutionizing the way the world powers its future.” Is timeless vision statement describing the aspiration of the organization.
The vision statement is broader in scope and encapsulates the organization’s overarching goals, often transcending industry-specific or product-focused details. A well-defined vision statement inspires and motivates stakeholders, including employees, by presenting a compelling picture of the organization’s future success. A vision statement might remain relatively constant over time, as it reflects the enduring goals and aspirations of the organization.
A mission statement outlines the fundamental purpose of an organization. It defines the organization’s core reason for existence, its primary activities, and the value it provides to its stakeholders. A mission statement guides decision-making, strategy development, and daily operations by clarifying what the organization does and who it serves.
The mission statement is more immediate and focuses on the organization’s present activities and its role in delivering specific products, services, or solutions to its target audience. A mission statement serves as a practical guide for daily operations and strategic decision-making. It outlines the fundamental actions and activities that contribute to achieving the organization’s goals.
A mission statement may evolve as the organization’s focus, capabilities, or target market changes. It can be adapted to stay aligned with the organization’s evolving strategies and priorities.
Vision and Mission do not work in isolation, rather, vision represents inspiration and visualization, while mission embodies the actions to be taken to realize that vision.
In pharmaceutical industry, vision statements always take up healthcare at its core, which is appropriate also. ‘Healthcare Worldwide’, ‘Affordable Healthcare for everyone’, ‘Health first’, ‘Patients in Mind’, ‘Healthy Happy Lives’ are some examples of vision statements from the industry. ‘To become so and so’ is not truly a vision statement, because it is a goal, not vision, because all goals must carry a timeframe with them.
Mission statements must be aligned with the vision statement. If ‘affordable healthcare for everyone’ is the vision, then the mission must take it as a purpose, and include some steps, such as keeping prices lower than market and making drugs available across the country, in the statement. This is not happening in most cases.
Most corporates also define goals and objectives for the year, and sometimes for the next three years. Goals and objectives converge the thinking of staff and channelize their activities in the right direction. This is the next step in the cascade of events, and it will be done very efficiently, if the mission has been defined properly.
Organization culture flows from the vision and mission and is reinforced by the goals and objective. If affordability is the vision, translated into mission by keeping costs in control, and the goals are to monitor and stay lower than market, the culture would be of cost-consciousness, controlling wastage, recycling where possible, and sustainable actions.
I understand, now, you see the whole picture how vision, mission, goals, and culture are interconnected, interdependent, and mutually supporting. The relationship is natural, logical, and essential.
The organizational culture in Pakistan is either distorted or mixed up because the alignment is missing. The vision is missing, which must be stated. Even if it is to become rich and richer, it should be stated. The mission would then include maximizing the profit at all times and at all costs. In fact, many organizations state the opposite of what they intend to do. The employees follow the practice, not the statements, but it does create confusion.
Organizational culture will develop and exist anyway. However, if it is cultivated deliberately and properly, it makes and keeps the workplace energized, conducive, and purposeful.
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