A robust corporate culture needs a strong vision and well-anchored core values.
Companies must develop a solid corporate culture in today’s fast-paced and globalised business world. In this article, we look at the importance of a clear company vision and appealing values for culture development and how they can help companies differentiate themselves, attract talent and ensure long-term success.
Vision, mission, strategy and values are often used in an unclear way in organisational development. We, therefore, make the following clarification for our readers:
Vision: A convincing picture of a planned future (in 3 – 5 years)
Purpose: why we exist, why we pursue our vision.
Mission: a description of what we do (to fulfil the purpose and pursue the vision).
Strategy: how we use our limited resources to fulfil our mission and achieve our vision for the future
Values: describe/provide a behavioural framework for how people in the team/organisation implement the strategy and mission.
Practices: the particular and specific, repeatable things that people do to bring the values to life and fulfil the mission.
The importance of a robust corporate vision:
A clear and inspiring corporate vision forms the foundation for cultural development in a company. It serves as a guiding star and gives employees a common direction. A vision should be concrete, realistic and, at the same time, ambitious. It should provide orientation for employees and motivate them to give their best. The time frame in which visions are “thought” today is about 3 – 10 years, depending on the industry.
However, a vision alone is not enough. Clear values must be defined to create a culture in which the employees live.
Values are the cornerstones of corporate culture. They define what is essential in a company and how employees should behave. Corporate values are embedded in the organisation’s DNA and cannot be easily changed. Therefore, we always discuss “discovering” an organisation’s core values in value processes. These are those 3 – 5 values that would remain in an organisation even if the business of the organisation changes. They are those values that make one organisation different from another.
Values become visible in an organisation through the behaviour of leaders and staff and, most importantly, through the decisions made by the people in the organisation.
In some organisations, the values are formulated in the management team and then communicated to the employees. Very often, these are values one would like to have but which are not anchored in the organisation. This usually leads to resentment among the staff or a certain ignorance of the prescribed values.
If an organisation wants to discover its values, it is more purposeful to start a very inclusive process in which the employees participate as much as the leaders.
Defining and communicating these values ensures that all employees share the exact expectations and act according to the same principles. Values should not be written on paper but lived in daily practice. They should be embedded in corporate communication, decision-making processes and staff development. In this way, values create an authentic and coherent corporate culture.
The link between vision, values and culture development:
Cultural development requires a holistic approach. Leaders should actively shape the culture by clearly communicating and exemplifying the vision and values. They should encourage employees to make company values visible in their daily actions and provide continuous feedback to improve the culture.
A robust corporate culture helps attract and retain talent. It creates a positive working environment where employees can engage and develop their skills. An authentic and value-oriented culture also promotes employee identification with the company and ensures common understanding and action.
Investing in culture development is worthwhile for every company to differentiate itself in a competitive market and achieve sustainable success.