Vision, Values and Organizational Culture
There are three things make an organization stable, productive and long-lasting.
The first is vision. What is the vision of the organization? What is the organization working towards becoming? Is this vision clear enough to attract interest from others? Is the vision big enough to accommodate other people? Can the vision when actualized lead to a significant improvement in the lives of those that subscribe to it and others that might not be directly subscribed to the vision?
The second thing is values. What values drive the organization in the pursuit of its vision? How does the organization plan to align to standard prevalent moral codes and ethical practices in the pursuit of the vision? What is the organization willing to do and what is it not willing to do as it seeks to attain its vision? Values-driven organizations are not frivolous in corporate behaviour neither are they ready to cut corners in order to attain success. Values-driven organizations are particular about processes that lead to outcomes, much more than outcomes that could be celebrated as successes.
The third important thing is Culture. Culture is way things are done within an organization. It’s about how the organization goes about its daily activities including how it deals with staff, clients, customers, and other external constituencies. Culture is connected with the way the organization takes responsibility for its successes and failures. Within organizational values are systems, procedures and processes of doing things to ensure outcomes align with organizational values.
Vision, Values & Culture are what drive and sustain organizations and make them transgenerational
These three are the intangible forces that hold an organization together and propels it, not only to greatness, but to transcend generations. Every organization that sits firm on this tripod will be productive, impactful and generational.
Incidentally, this tripod is created by one person: the founder of the organization. Every organization, no matter how small or large, has a founder, or what you might call the vision-bearer.
As it is said, every organization is an extended shadow of the founder or vision-bearer. The organization encapsulates the founder’s life vision and values. You cannot work successfully in an organization without aligning with the organization’s vision and the values as well as be ready to operate within its institutional culture.
Do not forget. The organization is a mirror image of the vision and values of the founder. You can’t hate the founder and love his vision and values. It in incongruous to have such situations. You might not like physical appearance or the personal idiosyncrasies of the founder, but if you align with the vision and the values, you could still function productively within the organization.
If you don’t align with the vision and the values and not ready to operate within the Organizational Culture, the best thing for you to do is sign off. Otherwise, you will harm your peace of mind and could be flushed out of the system in a manner that might injure your ego.
Organizations exist to achieve specific visions. They are driven by their own values and operate within their own created culture. This is what responsible organizational founders seek to create. The leader or the founder casts the vision, sets the values, and creates the culture. Once these three are in place, then the programs, projects, and services of the organization could operate seamlessly. The vision-bearer can then step aside while the organization runs without him. Until the organization has developed a cream of people that have taken ownership of the vision, imbibed the values, and can function within the established culture, the leader still has much work to do.
At FLED International Leadership Institute and Foundation for Leadership & Education Development, our aim is to raise leaders who are able to integrate vision, values and culture to promote social transforming outcomes.
Dr. Joseph C. Joseph
President, FLED Group