Learn more about creating a vision for your company, how organizational values stem from that, and how you can use them to empower your workforce.
Here's what you need to know:
- Organizational values and vision can be powerful tools for empowerment in your workplace — however, there are prerequisites for enabling them
- An organizational vision is simply a reason for your company to operate — it’s the future that your company is trying to create
- The vision is what a company is trying to achieve; the values are how employees will behave in order to achieve them
- As a manager, it’s important to provide your employees with opportunities to act out those values, then trust they will do so
Organizational values and vision can be powerful tools for empowerment in your workplace. However, there are prerequisites for enabling that.
That’s why in this article, we will go over creating a vision, how organizational values stem from that, and how you can use them to empower your workforce.
But first, we’re starting with defining what an organizational vision is.
What’s an organizational vision for a company?
An organizational vision is simply a reason for your company to operate — it’s the future that your company is trying to create. That doesn’t have to be a “bigger than life” purpose, but it needs to be a future that you want to create with your company.
Every organization exists to solve some problem that we currently have and a vision is how the world will look once that problem has been solved.
An organizational vision is simply a reason for your company to operate — it’s the future that your company is trying to create.
This is why a vision is so important for the company. It’s providing the future that you want to create with your organization (and your products and services). It also provides direction for the company culture and every single employee in it.
If you’re looking to solve a problem of communication across the world and create a future where every person will be able to communicate with whomever they want across the world, then you go in that direction.
Every single product and service that you have (and that you want to create) needs to answer the “vision problem.” Will this product or service bring us closer to achieving our vision?
To ensure that the vision doesn’t just stay a statement written on the office floor, the company will have to create organizational values that will be the guideposts along the way.
What are organizational values for a company?
Organizational values need to stem from the company’s vision. The vision is what we’re trying to achieve; the values are how we will behave in order to achieve them.
That’s why when creating organizational values, the company needs to ensure that the values reflect the organization as a whole; the purpose with which the company was built, and the vision (direction/future) that the organization is trying to achieve.
If you’re a company that wants to save planet Earth ecologically, then it would make sense for your organization to reduce its carbon footprint and have a value of net zero emission. And that’s how we get to empowerment.
How to use organizational values for workplace empowerment
Once you have the vision in place and you created the organizational values from the vision, it’s time to use the values to empower your employees in the workplace.
How it works
Every single staff member in your company will go through the employee onboarding process. At that time, they will learn about the company’s vision and values.
They will need to know why the company operates the way that it does. They’ll also understand the values the organization is trying to implement on a daily basis.
Once the employee understands that, they can be given the autonomy to operate on the basis of those values. If they understand the company values, then all of the decisions they will make in the future will be aligned with those values. By implementing that, you will achieve the organization’s vision.
If the value of your company is net zero emission, then all of the decisions that you make in your company should be aligned with that value.
When your employees understand that, they will autonomously start making decisions that are aligned with that value. They will become empowered.
This is how you maintain a sense of cohesion in the workplace while at the same time enabling the employees to make autonomous decisions.
This is also how great products and services come into being. An employee will create something that’s aligned with the organizational values. Then, it will be picked up by the company.
However, you need to trust your employees. You’ll need to provide them the opportunity to enact those values in the workplace. Here’s a great example of that.
The Ritz-Carlton is a chain of high-end hotels. They have a practice in the company that every employee gets to spend up to $2,000 per customer on a problem without calling the manager.
The money isn’t the focus here; their credo is.
Their credo is: “The Ritz-Carlton is a place where the genuine care and comfort of our guests is our highest mission.” The $2,000 that every employee can spend to solve a problem is just a way to enact that value. Every employee is empowered to solve the problem for their customers (or as they call them, Ladies and Gentlemen) because that’s what they’re there for.
You don’t need to give out a budget of $2,000 to every single one of your employees to solve a problem; this is just an example of how Ritz-Carlton does it. The following example is a way to enact your company’s values without spending a dime on them.
Southwest Airlines is an airline company founded in the 1960s by Herb Kelleher and Rollin King. The company operates under the credo of “Connect People to what’s important in their lives through friendly, reliable, and low-cost air travel.” The focus from its foundation was about low-cost air travel and that’s what they were all about.
Herb Kelleher once told the story about their employees who wanted to prepare a birthday present for one of their flight attendants.
They had a couple of ideas in mind, one being a cake that would be distributed to every single airline passenger. The other was confetti thrown during the flight. The 3rd idea was a special announcement over the speakers by the crew.
Can you guess what they did?
The employees picked the special announcement. Here’s why.
They argued that the 1st idea, giving the cake to all airport passengers, would cost the company quite a lot so it wouldn’t be aligned with their credo.
The second idea was to use confetti on the airplane; that’s quite cheap. But that would mean that there would be additional work for the crew when the plane lands as they would have to pick up all the confetti, which would result in longer wait times and higher fees in the airport.
So they decide to implement the 3rd idea; a special announcement. That still meant that they could congratulate their colleague on their birthday while upholding the company’s credo and values.
Use your organizational values wisely
Organizational values stem from the vision of the company. Employees need to feel empowered to enact those values in the workplace.
As a manager, it’s important to provide your employees with opportunities to act out those values. Then, trust that they will do so.
If you’d like more guidance, check out this post: Core Values: What They Are, and How to Implement Them to learn how to implement core values in your organization.