Tagged: mission

Forty nine (i)

My divorce papers came through the morning we’d scheduled to review the company’s mission, vision and values. Not exactly metaphoric, but funny enough. I raised my glass of orange juice in silent salute to Myra, and it was touching to learn she’d done the same, albeit with one of those powder-based concoctions she inflicts on herself.

The management team agreed that our current mission and vision statements said nothing but the utterly obvious in the most generic terms.

No one could recall them because they were pointless. Or is it the other way round? Were they pointless because no one could recall them? Anyway, I won’t repeat them here as their omission won’t injure the storyline.

We worked on the basis that the mission, vision and values should be concise, characteristic and memorable. By characteristic we mean that anyone told the mission and vision should be able to associate them with Attenzi unprompted.

Here’s how they crystallized:

Mission (why does Attenzi exist?)

We work together to create great products that celebrate great food and great cooking to the benefit of everyone involved. And we strive to get more people involved.

Vision (what does Attenzi want to be?)

We will be a truly social business, opening ourselves up to everyone’s talents, knowledge and wisdom to create beautiful products and relevant services.

Values (what’s important to us?)

Integrity – being true to ourselves and each other.

Openness – transparent and inclusive.

Sensitivity – to our stakeholders’ needs, our combined talents and failings, the market’s opportunities and threats.

We aligned the “about us” copy on our website and designed an internal communications program to explain what we were up to and elicit questions and contributions, and ultimately to win everyone’s support for this new way of thinking about our business.

Twenty one (i)

I mentioned the Goorooz got me thinking about what they didn’t say as well as what they did; their disagreeable omissions. Perhaps they were just hoisted by their own platitudes.

I must have heard “facebook strategy”, “twitter strategy” and “social strategy” four or five dozen times during that meeting. I believe I was the only one to mention our business strategy in the vain hope there might be a connection. The hint garnered a brief nod but was by and large ignored. (I was tempted to ask if this meeting had been won on the back of a “telephone strategy”.)

Examples of “radical social success” came thick and fast – in confectionery, music, consumer electronics, retail and travel. Apparently we’re all the same people (agreed) and we all want the same “social engagement” with all kinds of brands (not as far as I’m concerned).

By the way, if engagement means the action of occupying or attracting someone’s interest or attention – and it does, I looked it up in a dictionary – what’s the difference between “social engagement” and plain old “engagement” exactly?

Can you tell my feathers were ruffled?

And I know I have a tendency to bang on about an organization’s mission (why we exist) and vision (what we want to be) a lot, but if social engagement is the be all and end all wouldn’t we expect more annual reports to feature Chairman comments like:

– “We’re totally stoked to have grown retweets 220% this year.”

– “Our brand ‘Likes’ are up significantly. Now I’m liking that.”

– “Our customer service platform coped successfully with a three-fold increase in social engagement this year.”

I’ve not seen a Chairman’s report with such apparently unmoored information, unmoored from the vision the organization is pursuing. And potentially flawed.

Take the ‘Likes’. It seems to me there’s real confusion here. I get the idea that brand owners think the ‘Likes’ come for one reason – “they love us!” – and Joe Public another – “thanks for the discount coupon”. Actually, make that: “Thanks for the discount coupon; now would you mind not getting in my face so much else I’m going to have to ‘Unlike’ you.”

And what about the engagement measure; is it necessarily a good thing? Might it not indicate the possibility that something was causing problems out there in the marketplace?