Tag Archives: mission and vision

Can you see from where you are?

What engages your people? At our colleges and universities we hope it is the success of our students both during college and after graduation! What would your people say?

In reality it is often challenging for people to see a direct connection between their day-to-day work and the ultimate difference it makes to your customers, be they students in higher education, patients in health care, or whomever. Focusing this line of sight for your people helps them directly see the value and importance of their work which has been shown to increase engagement and performance. A real win-win for leaders.

Management educator and author Russ Linden shares a few ideas on how leaders can do a better job to create a line of sight for their people.

  1. Put a human face on your mission and vision. A health care organization I worked at for many years would always invite patients to join our work team meetings. It truly changed how we thought about our work.
  2. Encourage and make it easy for people to take short-term assignments or projects in different departments/divisions/locations. Exposing people to the full range of work required to serve your customers and how the pieces fit together helps them understand the importance of each step.
  3. Turn employees into customers. Actively look for ways to let your people experience your organization as a customer. Make it real for them.
  4. Schedule and hold multi-unit and multi-location meetings and training events. Whenever possible have people working together as a “whole” rather than in separate “pieces” so they begin to see themselves as an integral element in the overall process.

Leaders have the responsibility and the opportunity to sharpen the line of sight for every person on their team. What examples can you share of a leader doing a great job or an idea you used successfully?

Todd Thorsgaard



Stability in an uncertain world

minnesota-stateA few days ago I did a workshop for a staff group at one of our colleges. We were talking about change and David Rock’s SCARF model. (Todd wrote about that model in a past blog post.)

We had a good conversation about how change can be a threat to the human need for certainty, and that a strong organizational mission can help mitigate the threat of changes at work. When we all agree on the mission, we know that it will remain constant no matter what else  changes.  For example, one of the participants had previously worked at the University of Minnesota. Her unit was facing a lot of change, but staff knew that the changes would always support the mission of teaching, research, and outreach.

Our new Minnesota State logo includes the phrase “Extraordinary Education. Exceptional Value.”  This summarizes the mission that many of us have been supporting for a long time. As we are looking at numerous changes over the next few years, we know that mission will remain constant. Here’s the full “Brand Promise” mission statement from the new branding manual:

Minnesota State is a system of colleges
and universities united to provide an
extraordinary education that is affordable,
accessible, enhances quality of life, and ensures
prosperous communities.
Do you think this commitment is likely to remain constant over time? How could it help you be consistent during times of change?
Dee Anne Bonebright