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Dr Mats Tip of the day - 025 - Disruption affects mission and vision

Most organisations have a mission and vision statement as a way to make it clear as to what they do and where they are going. In a small or emerging organisation this may seem irrelevant - as there is much to do in establishing and growing your organisation. Some staff may see these statements as superficial, irrelevant and dismiss.

If you gather a set of people together, then start marching to your left without any discussion or context - do you really expect hundreds of staff to follow you ? my guess is that most will just watch and gaze, wondering what is happening. On the other hand if you explain what you are about to do, why it is important and why you need their support - you may well find most will follow you marching down the street if they are clear on how they matter to your cause (of course some may not - but there are always outliers that wont understand or want to go elsewhere).

Leadership is heavily dependent upon your ability to set the direction, set the reasons out clearly and to gather willing support (rather than being a push agent).

So the mission and vision statements are like headlines on what your organisation is all about - indicates what you do, where you are going and how you plan to get there. They set in simple terms so large quantities of stakeholders and staff can quickly understand and join in on your journey. It may seem superficial to some, but you do not need new staff reading hundreds of policies and procedures just to understand what your organisation is all about. Likewise do not need it to take weeks before a new staff member joins the team on the journey. So the vision and mission is the simplest way to share the direction - when properly set and communicated it may be the easiest way to gather a sense of directions and team.

If you are new to this, setting it up your first business, you need to understand the term vision. The vision is your starting place - what do you want the organisation to be ? A vision may not yet be achieved - but it shows what your aspirations are - so it could be "best in the industry", could be "superior products", could be "largest", could be "best customer service" - of course all these terms may be aspirational - but they indicate your priorities and your goals. Somewhere you need to later define what they mean because "best" to me may be quite different to you or your staff - a series of measures may assist in explaining and tracking your success on the vision.

So there is the mission statement - it is a statement about how you intend to get to your vision, your journey boundaries and goals. So mission can also be aspirational but sets out more about the journey and story - so it could include some of the others (but do not be constrained by these examples) - "zero harm for employees", "profitable", "innovative products" etc. As with the vision you should later define what each of these terms mean and how they can be measured - this extra detail will assist in explaining to staff and stakeholders how you will know if you are tracking along with the mission.

Ok, so you now understand these terms (plenty more written about both for you to find elsewhere if you need more help, including my book).

So will Disruption affect the way we set mission and vision and lead stakeholders ? Well the short answer is yes !

In Disruption, industry and organisational change will be constant, unpredictable, risky and uncertain. This kind of change may quickly change the way you measure success, as the products you planned have all become redundant or your industry may be under threat. Remember it was not that long ago that banks insisted on branch profitability and accountability, branch managers were once a respected position in their organisations and society more generally - after Disruption today banks are closing hundreds of branches and laying off many staff as technology has changed the way customers interface and demand service.

Disruption may fundamentally change what your organisation does or how it goes about business- setting vision/mission statements and leaving them alone for 5 to 10 years+ is no longer likely to be a valid way of operating.

It may be in Disruption that you should set and review vision/mission statements regularly - although changing them constantly may confuse staff and stakeholders to the point that you lose their confidence. The more that you change these flag posts about your organisation, the more that your Leadership may have to communicate, engage and seek to influence your staff to join the new direction. This is but another challenge for those Leading in Disruption.

An alternate may be to set your vision / mission statement at a higher level, perhaps fill it with values ? Approaching vision/mission this way you may be able to link direction more easily - and have less explaining or less confusion as your organisation is affected by Disruption. The other alternative of never changing your vision/mission may lead to confusion anyway, as the statements under severe Disruption may quickly become irrelevant and hard to support or explain.

If you are a Leader or seeking to be one in the future - you need to read, read, read about Disruption NOW ! Those that fail to understand and adjust will fall behind.

Feel free to ask Dr Mat over a chat or email on Leadership, Management or change issues, advice, consulting or mentoring that you may seek.

These and other related topics feature in Dr Mats upcoming book titled "Leading and Managing Change in the Age of Disruption and Artificial Intelligence" - written for the modern professional, student and academic wanting to be ahead on modern Leadership and Management issues. This book has been highly endorsed so please read the reviews on Amazon. Book available through Amazon and other book sellers from May 24th 2019 -

Consider your own specific situation and seek professional advice before acting directly in reaction to any of the tips on this website, they are intended as general advice only.

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