I’m not a big fan of mission statements because all too often they are filled with flowery language that communicates nothing. I prefer purpose statements that describe outcomes. Lower- level managers rarely develop purpose statements, leaving it to the senior leadership team. Yet clearly articulating the purpose of their organization unifies the team and helps them and their stakeholders hold each other accountable for results. This is true whether you are running a day-to-day operation or going through a major transformation.
One of my client’s accounts payable department did this, which included standards of behavior. I can report to you that this team is great to work with; employees are fully enrolled in the outcomes of the team and pull together to create remarkable results. Impressive.
Here is their purpose statement (adjusted to preserve anonymity), and a few of their behavioral standards. More departments would benefit from these kinds of efforts. As would your entire company.
ACCOUNTS PAYABLE CULTURE CREDO: Working together to process payments in an accurate and timely manner, while providing excellent customer service to the members and staff we support.
As members of the Accounts Payable team, we will:
- Come to work each day prepared to use our time productively
- Ask for help when needed
- Be prompt in our responses to our customers and each other
- Treat each other and our customers with dignity and respect (the way we want to be treated ourselves)
- Accept that mistakes may occur as long as we learn from them and try not to repeat them
- Be willing to listen to each other and try to seek common ground
- Acknowledge and respect each other’s viewpoints and ideas and recognize that it is okay to respectfully disagree
Dedicated to your profitable transformation,