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Roadmapping Success

(December 2008) posted on Mon Dec 22, 2008

The long road to success is navigated by defining Values, Vision, and Mission.

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By Marty McGhie

A print shop’s maturing process-taking a company from a small business to a midsize or larger business-requires a shift in mentality, as well as a change in day-to-day practices. The most effective company leaders ready themselves for growth by striving to run their businesses as if they were large companies, in spite of the fact that they still might be smaller. One of the most valuable and practical ways to accomplish this mental shift in your own shop is to go through a process of defining exactly who you are as company, where you want to go, and how you want to get there.

Our company recently engaged the help of Dan Paxton, a business and organizational strategy consultant. He led us through a process whereby we established our values, our vision, and our mission as a company. This month, I'll share some of the insight we learned.

Defining values
Begin the process with your ownership group, whether that is one person or several people. It's important to get ownership on board before including the management team. As you begin the process with ownership, don’t be concerned about getting all the details nailed down immediately. In fact, the implementation will go much more smoothly if the ownership team lays out the basics and then invites the management team to get involved in working out and agreeing upon the specifics. Including the management team in the decision-making process creates buy-in, a critical part of this exercise.

While there is no magical order in this process, it works well to begin by discussing your values as a company. Remember, your values define "who you are." Decide which values are important to you and your team. Start by just brainstorming--not by critiquing or eliminating any values.

For example, at the end of our initial session, we had identified approximately 25 different values we would consider important to our company. Through the vetting process with our ownership and management teams, that initial values group was narrowed down to the 12 that we felt truly defined our company. To illustrate, a few of our values include excellence, integrity, respect, teamwork, innovation, and accountability.