106 Communications

6th Sense

Leaders, mind your language…

January 2018 | Internal Communications

Recently we were in a meeting with the MD of a firm.  A few months into the role, he was keen to set out the vision and mission for the firm for the next few years and start to bring people and teams together to achieve it.

There were a number of different things in the mix – the values of the parent company, some lofty ambitions to drive better collaboration, some research from workshops and a desire to change the culture.  In fact, there was lots of information that could have sent us off in all kinds of direction.

But the deeper we delved, the clearer the message.  We settled on a simple vision supported by some key objectives to solve the issues the business was facing and to bring everyone together to grow the business.

In the words of our favourites meerkats, Simples.

Our advice?  Think about what you want to achieve and what you need to do to make it happen (including tackling any pain points) – and tell people that story in a way that they get and buy in to.  If you can’t do that on one page, then it’s not worth the paper it’s printed on.

Okay, so it’s easy to look back in hindsight and talk about Carillion, but let’s take a look at a statement about their strategy…

“Delivery of our services and strategic objectives continues to be driven by our customer-focused culture, integrated business model and centralised operating platform, which enable us to combine all our skills and resources so that we can compete successfully to win and deliver high-quality contracts.”

Not quite sure that means, apart from doing things well.

And therein lies the problem for many corporate organisations – an ability to bamboozle colleagues and clients with language that becomes ever-more meaningless.  Barnes and Noble are a case in point,

“To operate the best omni-channel specialty retail business in America, helping both our customers and booksellers reach their aspirations, while being a credit to the communities we serve.”

But you sell books!

When it comes to deciding on and communicating a vision or mission, we still think Google say what it does on the tin,

“Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”

Job done.

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