Developing your function vision and mission statements will help you stay on track throughout the year. Now's a good time to pull them out and make sure they complement your organization's vision and mission statements. Don't have ‘em? Not to worry! Here are some guidelines to get you started and then it's smooth sailing…
FUCTION VISION STATEMENT
Your vision is “who you are” or expect to be in the future. It’s your ideal future - what you are working towards – knowing you will fine tune your actions along the way. A function vision statement, once crafted, rarely changes except in cases where the company has changed its vision due to restructure, acquisition or other marketplace changes.
Follow these steps to help you develop your 20/20 vision:
1. Review your organization’s vision statement! Your function’s vision must align with this for you to be taken seriously as a performance partner.
2. Complete a visioning exercise with your team or by yourself (if a department of one) like the Helicopter Visioning Activity described here:
Helicopter Visioning Activity
3. Begin to craft a statement that starts with “We are….” or “The X Learning and Development department is…” If it sounds pretty vague and “pie in the sky”, you’re probably on the right track!
As an example, here is The Training Clinic’s vision statement:
“We are the trusted partner of choice for learning and performance professionals worldwide.”
4. Once you’ve drafted your vision statement and are comfortable that it supports your organization’s vision, the next step is to gain management’s support for it. Incorporate suggestions or feedback from colleagues and execs before finalizing your statement.
Now on to your mission statement!
FUNCTION MISSION STATEMENT
The mission of the training function is the ‘business’ conducted by the function. It’s a statement of HOW you will achieve your vision. Think of it as a roadmap to get you there. It should be short, memorable.
If your function has no formal mission statement, there are a couple of ways of developing one
You can write your mission statement in either paragraph or bullet point format.
Again, as an example, here is The Training Clinic’s mission statement that helps us reach our vision
Mission statements should be living, breathing reflections of the business you are in…what you are doing that others can’t…your purpose. And that means they will evolve over time! Your function’s mission statement is something that does not necessarily need executive buy in – although that’s always a good thing! However you WILL want collaboration and buy-in with the rest of your training team. Only you and your team to know the intricacies of our profession needed to support and execute the function’s vision! And you will want to revisit your mission statement regularly to keep it up-to-date.
From your mission statement you can then begin to write your team’s goals and objectives for the year. For example, for us at The Training Clinic, in order to “share our expertise“ as described in the third bulled of our mission statement, we need to craft a vigorous marketing plan yearly that includes what we are going to do, how we are going to do it and the resources and capabilities we need to pump up!
BUT …. BUT….
It’s at this point that many of you may ask, “But what do we do if our organization does not have a vision or mission statement?” Two answers for you here. First, they may have been written down somewhere, but that’s where they stayed: on the paper in some drawer or in some file in some computer. This requires a bit of sleuthing on your part. Once found, don’t think you can just run with it! You’ll need to circle back with the execs and see if this is indeed what they feel best represents the organization.
If not OR if you truly can’t find these statements, then the execs need to be taken through the exact same exercises described above to craft a vision and mission statement. If you have a background in strategic planning, go ahead and offer to take them through this. If not, get a trained professional to help. (By the way, this is something we LOVE to do, so feel free to reach out to Melissa or Maria for help!)
GIVE YOUR FUNCTION VISION AND MISSION STATEMENTS LIFE!
Once you’ve crafted your statements, give them life! Publish them in your marketing materials and make them visible throughout your department. Always circle back as you are taking on new projects and priorities and ask yourself, “Will this help us achieve our vision? Is this in line with our mission?” If the answer to either of these questions is “no,” then you need to stop and help the organization revisit ITS vision and mission statements. All activities, initiatives and directives need to work towards the common goal of helping the organization achieve and support its vision and mission.
It’s our job as internal performance consultants to push back when necessary and ensure everyone stays on the same path. Ahhhh – our work is never done!
Maria Chilcote & Melissa Smith
The Training Clinic