There are two ways to make decisions.
- Make the decision yourself.
- Collect relevant data and feedback and then decide.
Can’t figure out which socks to wear? Option one.
Want to elucidate the core elements of an organizations’s culture? We picked option two.
I’ll be honest: I love projects that have cool names. When we decided to dig deep on our mission, vision, and values, I knew that CQ would be a solid start. It’s catchy, it’s fresh, and it sounds like “seek”!
More exciting, though, was crafting the scope of this project. Even the plan got feedback, of course, and so we revised and reworked. We started with these framing questions:
- Who are we?
- Who do we want to be?
- Where do we want to go next?
As Lewis Carroll and others have tried to helpfully remind us: “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there.” Still, we wonder and we wander.
Does It Matter?
Before we take a look at the rest of the process, a few quick notes on values, vision, and mission. Are they just corporate jargon or do they really have an impact?
- Values: Real values are beliefs demonstrated in practice, guiding the way an organization treats its stakeholders, both internal and external.
- Mission: Fundamentally, a mission statement clearly identifies an organization’s reason for existence and its main goal.
- Vision: This statement boldly announcements the projected result and impact of the organization’s mission being achieved
Sure, these look nice on a company’s About Us page, but organizations that have taken the trouble to define these elements can see even more positive benefits. For example, studies show that millennials are very interested in working for companies with the right culture and values, even for a lower salary. Plus, the process itself can add clarity to the organization’s understanding of itself — and strengthen its brand identity and reputation externally. Internal communication can be enhanced. Simply knowing and sharing these common aims can have a significant impact on decisions, strategy, and growth.
Of course, it’s a big world, so we took a look around at companies we admired. What mission, vision, or values do they share publicly? Are they crafted for specific audiences or purposes? Are they presented in fun videos or corporate formality? Do they appear to be authentic or aesthetic?
We conducted in-depth interviews with those who’ve been around the longest, including our CEO. We asked questions like these:
- What do you see as the core mission of SoGoSurvey?
- What do you want SoGoSurvey to be known for?
- What do you see as the most important values of SoGoSurvey?
Our core researchers reviewed these interviews, findings, and brainstorms and combined solid lists of possibilities in each category.
We carried out an internal employee feedback survey (surprise!) to understand the diverse perspectives of our entire team. Questions included:
- In your own words, what does SoGoSurvey do?
- In your own words, what sets SoGoSurvey apart from its competitors?
- From the list below, choose up to five values you’d like SoGoSurvey to aspire to. Feel free to add your own.
- Of the following, which most closely matches with your idea of SoGoSurvey’s mission?
- Of the following, which most closely matches with your idea of SoGoSurvey’s vision?
With the results accumulated, we unveiled all the data and made decisions about how to move forward. Hooray!
Finding that our mission and vision statements seemed to overlap, we decided to go with a big picture vision statement and set aside mission for now.
- Building the world’s best feedback platform to power the world’s smartest decisions.
With our values, we re-categorized and considered and decided on:
From here, we’ve built these values into our onboarding, rolled them out on our website, and continue to build programming that will strengthen our focus on living these values and achieving this vision.
We think big, but we’re pretty excited about this process. Sure, in some ways we still have the energy and excitement of a start-up, but our continued growth encourages us to pause and reflect along the way to be certain we’re headed in the right direction.
What did you find in your own company culture survey? We’d love to hear from you!