When Employees’ Values don’t match the Company’s Values
The Corporate Mission Statement: Where Good Intentions go to Die.
Have you ever read your Company’s mission statement?
Can you remember it?
Can you recite it?
Toad the Wet Sprocket once said
They might as well been writing about corporate mission statements.
Far too often mission statement is simply a collection of trendy buzzwords stuffed in an over-wrought sentence and hung on the wall to die.
It has gotten so ludicrous
There is even a website, The ComfyChair Mission Statement Generator, that will instantly create a mission statement for your company – for free (my personal favourite price) – that is guaranteed to have absolutely NO positive effect on your business.
Your mission statement is dead if:
- It is more than ten words long.
- The employees were not asked to participate in its development.
- The employees can’t remember and recite it.
- Leadership is not using it as a regular barometer of the company’s actions.
- It is not reviewed annually to ensure it is still applicable to the company.
A few years ago…
I was standing in the lobby of a local steel mill. Their executive vice-president was exercising the luxury of his position by making me wait. So I waited.
Posted on the lobby wall were the corporate values and mission statement.
I read it.
It was a lengthy document written in calligraphic font on sepia paper and framed in gold gilt. It described a company that valued
- mutually beneficial relationships
- community mindedness
blah blah blah…
I laughed out loud.
I was a vendor to the mill. I had requested a meeting with the EVP to discuss his practice of short-paying our invoices, and to confront him on his habit of spreading false rumours about our company within his. I knew the EVP’s goal was to have us break our contract so he could hire his preferred provider.
I knew this….because he had told me.
………Thirty minutes past our appointed time
Finally he opened the door and waved me in.
45 (pointless) minutes later…
I offered to tear up the paperwork and release him from our contract…..as long as he paid everything he owed us immediately.
He smiled, snapped his fingers, and instructed the controller to cut a cheque.
As I was leaving his office for the last time I turned back:
Have you ever read your company’s values? Because you sure don’t live them out.
He laughed out loud.
We never did business again.