Vision, mission statements and core values are more than words on paper. They define and guide the principles affecting every aspect of your business. When you are confronted by decisions regarding policy, partnerships or strategy, use your values to ensure your actions reflect your identity.
In many ways your business is like a child. It is your job to nurture as it grows and matures. What kind of business do you want it to become? What kind of guiding principles do you consider when making decisions? Think about what matters to you most and how you can weave into the culture of your organization. Take some time and research various large and small business values to get ideas. Since the business is an extension of you it is a process deserving careful consideration.
Your company vision may be a Big, Hairy, Audacious Goal (BHAG) that stretches your effort. It may never be completely attainable but rallies employees to work together for a common vision. The opportunity to affect change and make a meaningful difference on a widely accepted issue is highly motivating and should not be underestimated. Rainier Flight has a simple vision:
To be an industry leader leveraging technology to develop the next generation of flight training.
Striving to be the best flight school is a good goal, but it is not a Vision. Hopefully, every flight school is continuously improving and trying to become the best in their city, state and region. Instead, focus on what you want your organization’s legacy to be. What is truly memorable and unique that your employees can be proud helping to achieve? Consider what mark you want to leave on the industry and use that Vision to shape your culture.
A mission statement defines purpose and plays a tremendous role in maintaining a consistent vision. Mission statements can vary in length, however you likely want to keep it concise and clear so clients understand exactly what your business represents. Many mission statements include key words that identify critically important elements of an operation. Our mission at Rainier Flight is:
Provide the highest quality of flight training through opportunities to develop experience in a safe, efficient and fun environment.
The words chosen for this mission are very intentional and thoughtful. We want to provide the highest quality. Not the cheapest or fastest – just the best quality. We do not check boxes in a syllabus, we provide opportunities to develop experience by allowing clients to explore aircraft and personal capabilities. Safety trumps all other considerations while striving for a high level of efficiency and ensuring clients have a fun and memorable experience. Embed this in your culture through developing policies and workflows that support your mission.
Many businesses tout core values on websites, brochures and even business cards but represent little more than marketing jargon. However, when used effectively core values are a useful tool when embedded within a culture. It is important to remember they are not your values – they are the values of your business and should shape employee engagement. Here are a few ways they can cultivate culture:
- They determine the unique attributes of your company. What makes you different from every other flight school?
- They dictate personal involvement and alignment. When you hire employees, you want people who are in alignment with your values. You can always train skills but they must be a good fit for your culture.
- They communicate what is important. What is important to you, the employees, and the company can be clarified in your values for your clients to see.
- They influence overall behavior. When combined with a balanced scorecard or other performance metric you can ensure your values are put to practical use.
- They inspire people to action. People take positive action because they aspire to live up to those core values.
Our core values at Rainier Flight include:
Safety – The safety and well-being of our employees and customers is the foundation of Rainier Flight Service. Each employee at every level of the organization is committed, accountable and has the authority to maintain the highest possible level of safety for every employee, every customer, every flight, every day.
Teamwork – We work together to accomplish goals that cannot be attained alone. We believe in proactively seeking out different perspectives, breaking down barriers and communicating the “why” behind the decisions we make.
Resourcefulness – Our willingness to improve and ability to master difficult challenges exemplify the “can do” attitude of Rainier Flight Service. We embrace an atmosphere where hard work, initiative and teamwork are valued, and where creativity and innovation flourish.
Integrity – Our actions will reflect our absolute commitment to ethical and honest behavior. When faced with uncertainty, we will always use our best judgment to do the right thing.
Caring – Caring about and helping people is the soul of Rainier Flight Service. We regularly go the extra mile to help our customers, our community and each other with friendliness, caring and genuine concern.
When faced with challenges without a clear solution we use these values to guide our decision making. Does a possible solution have unacceptable safety implications? Are we working together or do we need to align stakeholder interests? Though it may not be as profitable, are we doing the right thing and caring for our client needs?
Equipped with clear Vision, Mission and Values you can build your culture on a solid foundation and lead your organization to create something special and unique. Check out our posts on Leadership and Developing Strategy to implement your vision.