How to Cascade Vision and Mission

One of the most critical things businesses do is create a company’s mission and vision statement. As a brand consulting firm, it is our job to understand the vision and mission for our client’s business and interview their employees to understand what it means for their day-to-day lives at work. If employees are not aligned, there won’t be any progress made!

Unfortunately, despite the senior leadership team’s efforts in crafting them, these statements sometimes go unused, unimplemented, ignored, misunderstood or forgotten. In this article, we’ll provide three tips on how to cascade your mission and vision statement more effectively. So, if you want your business to succeed, read on!

Tip 1 – Repeat & Keep It Real

When leaders think they have communicated their vision and mission, it’s often not enough. We like to say this to our clients “when you’re sick of saying it, it means there’s a chance it finally sticks.” Employees need to hear the message from different perspectives and in various ways frequently to truly understand what is expected of them.

When leaders communicate a consistent message over time, they must also provide specific examples of how the mission has been brought to life, and aligns to the vision. For instance, if an organization’s mission is “to make lives better”, it should share recent successes in practice with employees that are emblematic of this goal-related endeavour. Not just talk about what they do all day long but show them instances where their work made some difference! Keep it real and relatable.

Tip 2 – Listen to Understand

A high-level vision might sound inspiring but leaves too much imagination when delivered from someone operating lower down to implement change. Depending on your corporate culture, it can be difficult for some employees to articulate their disagreements and objections to the vision and mission statements if there is a lack of psychological safety.

If you’re not sure whether employees buy into the company’s vision and mission – investigate. One of the most critical arsenals is direct feedback. Senior leaders should use anonymous company climate surveys, frequent check-ins with line managers, and Management by Walking Around (MBWA). A desk is a dangerous place to watch the world. Find out the root cause and take corrective measures. Without buy-in from employees, it is hard for a company to grow and succeed. Listen to understand, not listen to reply.

Tip 3 – Start Early, Visually & Verbally

One of the most common questions leaders ask us is when they should communicate their mission and vision to their employees. This needs to happen even before hiring them, during interviews or induction sessions with new hires – it cannot wait until then! Most organizations would put them on their company websites, but there are many more places to consider. Other opportunities could include screensavers, virtual backgrounds, employee handbooks, office space, printed on travel cards, company letterheads, during meetings and performance appraisals. As the saying goes, “out of sight, out of mind.” Look for as many touchpoints as possible to share the north star.

Cascading company mission and vision statements can be a daunting task, but it can create buy-in throughout the entire organization if done correctly. Please don’t leave it to chance. The three tips we’ve provided should help you get started on this process. Remember to start small and gradually increase the scope of your cascade as you go along. Be sure to involve employees at all levels to get their input and ownership of the mission and vision statement. You have won half the battle in building a successful corporate brand when you do this well.