Bringing vision and values to life in your firm

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Bringing vision and values to life in your firm Powered By Docstoc
     by Dr. Jay Akridge and Dr. John Foltz

     and values
     to life in
     your firm

           arvest is upon us and in some areas the feed       exercise, does your vision still reflect the realities
           and grain industry is hitting on all cylinders.    of today’s and tomorrow’s business environment?
           The middle of what may be the most intense         Perhaps more importantly, the “busy season” gives
     part of the year may seem like an odd time to be         you a chance to really assess how you do business
     thinking about your firm’s vision and values, but        and determine if you are living your values. How
     that is what we are going to ask you to do in this       your firm acts and reacts when the pressure is on
     column. Being in the midst of “doing what you do,”       says a lot about you.
     is not a bad time to take a look at the alignment           While notions like vision and values can be really
     between what your firm’s vision and where you are        fuzzy ideas, we will make the case in this column
     now. Likewise, when your organization is running         that they can also be powerful points of difference
     flat out, you can take stock as to whether or not        for your feed and grain firm. Especially when the
     your actions are aligned with your beliefs or values.    vision provides guidance for decisions, brings your
        Think about it: You may have invested some time       stated values to life, and in the process, energizes
     framing a vision for your organization when you put      your employees to rally around your company’s core
     together that last strategic plan. But in the three to   purpose and beliefs. Let’s start with some discussion
     seven years since you went through that planning         of these two fundamentally important ideas.

36    OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2009| FEED&GRAIN                                           
Vision                                                          ers in our state through exceptional marketing
   Most management texts will define vision as a                opportunities created by strategically located
statement of what the firm wants to become, the                 facilities, creative risk management tools and the
difference it wants to make, the basic needs it wants           lowest cost of doing business in our region.”
to address, and stated in an aspirational, inspiration-       There is a lot going on in these kinds of state-
al and concise way. (We won’t get into hair splitting      ments. These firms are lifting up why they do what
over the difference between vision statements and          they do, for example “contributing to a viable live-
mission statements. In our book, mission statements        stock industry,” and “enhancing the profitability of
are more reflective of who we are and what we do,          our growers.” There are also aspirational statements
while vision statements address what we want to            here that are measureable, such as “lowest cost of
become. We will focus on vision here.) If your firm        doing business in region.” In addition, there are aspi-
has been through a strategic planning activity, you        rational statements that are less easy to measure such
likely developed one of these vision statements.           as, “unsurpassed passion for quality.” Key elements of
Maybe your statement says something like:                  firm strategy are embedded as well like “innovative
   • “We will support a viable livestock industry 
Description: There is a lot going on in these kinds of statements.
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