Team Performance

Manifesto examples

Companies and organizations sometimes publish a “manifesto” to outline their core beliefs and their “why” and/or reason for being. First Round Capital’s First Round Review sums theirs up succinctly:


Manifesto

We believe that there is powerful, untapped knowledge out there that can transform the way people build technology.

There's just one problem: It's trapped in other people's heads — people who are at the top of their fields, who rarely have time to share what they've learned (even when they want to). The Review is about liberating this knowledge to inspire and accelerate action. To deliver on this mission, we'll make you three promises...

1) We'll get out of the way and let experts speak directly to you about what they believe is most important. (That's why we choose not to use bylines.)

2) Every article will serve up tactics that you can use today to change your company and your career.

3) We will never be boring. The stories you find on here are crafted to teach, to engage and to stick.

We launched The Review to cut through the noise so that you can make an impact. We can't wait to see what happens next.

How LinkedIn thinks about vision

First Round Capital publishes the First Round Review - a super useful online magazine that highlights tactics and strategies that have propelled their most successful startups to success.

In this article on LinkedIn’s management framework, they share CEO Jeff Weiner’s thoughts on vision and mission and the role they take.

Many people working in tech use the terms ‘mission’ and ‘vision’ interchangeably, and usually fail to implement them beyond lip service from executives. Weiner is convinced that clearly defining both, and living by them every day is a key defining aspect of building a successful technology company.

“Vision is the dream,” says Weiner. “A company’s true north. It’s what inspires everyone day in and day out. It’s what you constantly need to be aspiring to.” He defines LinkedIn’s vision as “Creating economic opportunity for every professional,” where ‘professional’ refers to every single one of the over 3.3 billion people in the global workforce.

The mission, on the other hand, defines how the company strives to fulfill that vision. For LinkedIn, that means “connecting the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful.” Here the term ‘professional’ is all about the company’s immediate audience of more than 600 million knowledge workers in its network, and the opportunity to change their lives.

Visions aren’t immediately achievable. They’re pie in the sky ideals that may take generations, many partnerships, and many people to achieve — and even then, perhaps only in part. Missions, however, can be defined in terms of concrete objectives, and a company can be measured by how well it achieves them, Weiner says. Most companies, even startups, will only have one or the other. But a vision without reference to what the company actually does is unmoored from reality, and may not serve its purpose to inspire and organize employees.

Weiner uses Google as a prime example of a company with a mission that includes the hallmarks of an effective vision statement: it wasn’t “to be a faster search engine that also offered marginally better first-page results.” It was “To organize the world’s information to make it universally accessible and useful.” The search engine and the company’s other products aspire to fulfill that mission. It’s how Google built a team of missionaries and not mercenaries. It’s how you can get the best people and inspire them to be great, Weiner says.
— First Round Review "The Management Framework that Propelled LinkedIn. to a 20B company"

A definition of focus from Steve Jobs

“People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully. I’m actually as proud of the things we haven’t done as the things I have done. Innovation is saying ‘no’ to 1,000 things.”

— Steve Jobs

This quote was featured in Shane Parrish’s excellent article on speed versus velocity.

Company vision statement examples: Audi

Audi’s company vision statement:

Three global megatrends will define the mobility of the future: digitalization, sustainability and urbanization. We have the right answers to these megatrends. We have a clear strategic plan to defend our Vorsprung durch Technik. We have the potential to revolutionize mobility.

We are shaping “The New Premium.”

Creativity: The Strategic Necessity You May Have Overlooked

Want to rent a house? I’ll bet you ten bucks your first move won’t be to call a real estate broker. You’ll search one of dozens of sites like Zillow or StreetEasy. Nagging sore throat? WebMD. Looking to buy a wheelbarrow or a pair of swim goggles? Amazon. And if you stop your Google search for just a moment you’ll hear something other than your fingers tapping on your computer keyboard. You’ll hear the deep, low drone of encroaching thunder.

That's the sound of disruption, and the only thing that can stop it from upending your business are the ideas you generate through more creative and flexible thinking. Even staid professional service industries like accounting, insurance, or law firms aren’t immune. They too, need a means of injecting creative thinking into their practices if they want to avoid being disrupted. I can already hear the cynics among you asking, “Law firms, creativity? Where's the connection?”

Several months ago I met with the executive leadership of Levenfeld, Pearlstein LLC, a Chicago law firm, to discuss goals for their annual retreat. They told me they wanted their people to think in more innovative and creative ways. Innovation and creativity are broad terms, and whenever I hear them cited as goals I know it’s time to dig deeper and find out what those words actually mean to an organization. The things I want to know are: How would people in your organization act differently if they were more innovative? If your people were more creative, how would their conversations change? And perhaps most importantly — do you as leaders have the stomach to entertain a slew of new (and occasionally awful) ideas?

As their answers emerged I began to understand how serious Levenfeld Pearlstein was about improving its culture.  They were looking for a change in focus from a concentration on standard processes like preparing contracts (an important function, but one that can be delegated fairly easily) to things you’ll sometimes hear derisively described as soft skills — like storytelling, empathy, and vulnerability. When I mentioned this to a friend of mine who had just made partner at a different law firm, she looked at me with a sardonic grin and said, “wow, sounds like a hippie commune. At our firm we focus on the bottom line.”

No surprise there. Many business leaders think that things like empathy and storytelling are better suited to an MFA creative writing course than to a professional services industry. When I asked her what the three biggest challenges to her firm’s bottom line were, she had this to say, “The first is employee retention. When someone from our firm quits it costs us a fortune in replacement and retraining costs. The second is client retention and the third is finding new clients.”

No surprise there either. You lose money when employees and clients need to be replaced and you make money when you gain new clients.

My friend had characterized Levenfeld Pearlstein as a hippie commune, but I ask you, which of the three areas that concerned her firm’s bottom line are not powerfully affected by human considerations like communication skills, empathy, or the ability to understand the stories of clients and employees? Levenfeld Pearlstein is hardly a bunch of hippies; they are just as concerned with the bottom line as my friend’s firm is. And yes, while it’s true they are progressive, they are progressive only in the sense that they are fostering capabilities to see what’s beyond the horizon. In doing so, they are being strategic about their bottom line as well. They understand that with online services like Legal Zoom eating away at the market share of many law firms, simply positioning theirs, as the best at creating contracts is no longer a sustainable business model.

Having a record of someone’s spending habits, their online searches, or their whereabouts is not the same as truly understanding them. We’ve come to accept that possessing statistical data is the same as possessing deep knowledge. It’s not. We humans are visceral, emotional, and spiritual beings who exist in a multi-dimensional world. We learn through humor, through music, and through acts of kindness. The Internet is indescribably helpful in making our thoughts and ideas manifest, but we shouldn’t mistake its utility as a way to grasp the totality of our humanness.

Any strategy, which purports to improve the bottom line, must include a proactive and intensive approach to bolstering creativity and innovation, along with the cornerstone of all creativity and innovation: unfettered communication between human beings. We must invest freely in developing “human capital” — an over-used and slightly perverse way of describing the actual men and women who work within our organizations.

Discussing the need for creativity in the workplace, planning for its implementation, and then, putting that plan into practice, is how successful companies lay the groundwork for a culture that is well prepared for rapid change, and for the flexibility in thinking that change demands.

If that’s not strategic, I don’t know what is.

This article originally appeared in Forbes and is brought to your by our friends at Big Muse.

About the author:
Peter Himmelman is a Grammy and Emmy nominated singer-songwriter, visual artist, best-selling author, film composer, entrepreneur, and rock and roll performer. Time Magazine writes: “Himmelman writes songs with the same urgency that compelled the Lost Generation to write novels."

In addition to his own, continuing creative work, he is the founder of Big Muse, a company, which helps organizations to leverage the power of their people’s innate creativity. Clients include Boeing, 3M, McDonald’s, Adobe, and Gap Inc. His most recent book, Let Me Out (Unlock your creative mind and bring your ideas to life) was released October, 2016. Peter also holds an Advanced Management Certificate from The Kellogg School of Business, at Northwestern, and a Certificate Of Leadership Development from the National Security Seminar of The United States Army War College.

Photo by Atul Vinayak on Unsplash

How Willing Are You To Make An Investment In Creativity?

Sure, you’d like your employees to have more buy-in around your company’s brand and mission statement. And no doubt it’d be far better to get your people enthusiastic about coming to the office, rolling up their shirtsleeves, and getting down to work. But you’d be making a big mistake if you think enthusiasm is possible without giving people creative freedom. Nobody gets psyched to come to work as a result of a pep talk, or even a hike in pay; not for long anyway.

The question I have for leaders is simple: Do you really want more creativity and innovation in your workplace or are you just giving lip-service to a kind of change you have no intention of implementing? 

Let’s be honest, what many employers want most of all are people who will act within pre-existing, pre-established procedures and guidelines. Very few employers actually want a group of creative, initiative-taking leaders; their companies just aren’t set up to change at that kind of rapid pace. But the problem is the world is changing fast —faster than any of us know.

Creativity demands experimentation. But experimentation often means delays, added costs, and people coming forward with ideas and solutions that may sound absurd. Encountering occasional absurdity is one of the costs —and benefits— of creative freedom; 'absurd' as in say: creating a business around people paying for rides in family cars instead of taxis, or people renting rooms in private homes instead of paying for hotels —think Uber and Airbnb! The list of so-called absurd ideas goes on and on, from hamburgers made on an assembly line, to asking people to pump their own gas.

Let’s say you’re heading a company that has invested overwhelming amounts of time and capital in creating systems and processes to streamline and cut costs; and yet all around you, you can see how rapidly those very systems become outmoded. What’s needed is a new way, not only of looking at your business, but a new way of seeing the world.

By nature, human beings have a penchant for creating permanence, for maintaining order, and for limiting chaos. But maintaining the status quo and relying on processes that seek to limit ambiguity and uncertainty, is anathema to creativity. A masterful artist, that is, one experienced in the process of stretching him or herself to find new ways of looking at solutions, (even if those ways include looking into past precedents,) has become inured to the idea that truly creative work seldom comes with a roadmap. Rather than follow a linear path, innovation often arises from non-linear thinking; in its early stages it may even appear nonsensical. But it’s in that “nonsense” that new ideas are allowed to gestate.

Before a seed can germinate it must first decay. It's not until it’s been buried —tucked out of sight, as it were— and begins to decompose, that its real strength is revealed. In other words, the creative mind must lose sight of its goal again and again. It must be allowed to experience moments of deep frustration and inertia. Only after traveling into the darkness of doubt and fear can anything of value be born. And so how does any of this relate to companies and their need to keep pace in a furiously changing world? Leaders who truly want their organizations to grow and to prosper must re-evaluate their tolerance for ambiguity, for risk, and for experimentation.

We've all seen companies whose main belief is:

'We need a means of maintaining the way we’ve been doing things.'

Rather than:

'We need a means of interdicting the fears that prevent a willingness to change.'

And while some companies may express a desire for creativity and innovation —only the strongest, most sustainable companies know that the costs of actually implementing those ideas are always worth the expense.

Give the smart people you employ a little leeway and they’ll come up with all sorts of ideas that can move your business forward in ways you could never have dreamed.

This article originally appeared in Forbes and is brought to your by our friends at Big Muse.

About the author:
Peter Himmelman is a Grammy and Emmy nominated singer-songwriter, visual artist, best-selling author, film composer, entrepreneur, and rock and roll performer. Time Magazine writes: “Himmelman writes songs with the same urgency that compelled the Lost Generation to write novels."

In addition to his own, continuing creative work, he is the founder of Big Muse, a company, which helps organizations to leverage the power of their people’s innate creativity. Clients include Boeing, 3M, McDonald’s, Adobe, and Gap Inc. His most recent book, Let Me Out (Unlock your creative mind and bring your ideas to life) was released October, 2016. Peter also holds an Advanced Management Certificate from The Kellogg School of Business, at Northwestern, and a Certificate Of Leadership Development from the National Security Seminar of The United States Army War College.

Photo by Ross Findon on Unsplash

Core Value Examples: IKEA

Core Value Examples: IKEA

Togetherness
Togetherness is at the heart of the IKEA culture. We are strong when we trust each other, pull in the same direction and have fun together.

Caring for people and planet
We want to be a force for positive change. We have the possibility to make a significant and lasting impact - today and for the generations to come.

Cost-consciousness
As many people as possible should be able to afford a beautiful and functional home. We constantly challenge ourselves and others to make more from less without compromising on quality.

Simplicity
A simple, straightforward and down-to-earth way of being is part of our Småland heritage. It is about being ourselves and staying close to reality. We are informal, pragmatic and see bureaucracy as our biggest enemy.

Renew and improve
We are constantly looking for new and better ways forward. Whatever we are doing today, we can do better tomorrow. Finding solutions to almost impossible challenges is part of our success and a source of inspiration to move on to the next challenge.

Different with a meaning
IKEA is not like other companies and we don’t want to be. We like to question existing solutions, think in unconventional ways, experiment and dare to make mistakes - always for a good reason.

Give and take responsibility
We believe in empowering people. Giving and taking responsibility are ways to grow and develop as individuals. Trusting each other, being positive and forward-looking inspire everyone to contribute to development.

Lead by example
We see leadership as an action, not a position. We look for people’s values before competence and experience. People who ‘walk the talk’ and lead by example. It is about being our best self and bringing out the best in each other.

Core Value Examples: Whole Foods

Core Value Examples: Whole Foods

Trust
We communicate openly with our customers, and do what it takes to keep their data secure.

Growth
We’re obsessed with our customers’ success and take pride in their achievements.

Innovation
We pursue ideas that could change our company, our country — and maybe even the world.

Equality
We respect and value employees from every background, and we thrive as a result.

Core Value Examples: Salesforce

Core Value Examples: Salesforce

Trust
We communicate openly with our customers, and do what it takes to keep their data secure.

Growth
We’re obsessed with our customers’ success and take pride in their achievements.

Innovation
We pursue ideas that could change our company, our country — and maybe even the world.

Equality
We respect and value employees from every background, and we thrive as a result.

5 ingredients you can use to build a vision statement immediately.

Everyone seems to get a little nervous when it comes to drafting a vision statement.  Here are 5 great ingredients you can use to build your right now.

  1. Be purpose-driven:
    Give your team a way to connect to larger purpose. Tell them why they are doing what they are doing and why it matters. This is the one must-have for your vision. Get to the heart of "why".
     
  2. Be daring:
    Imagine a future that you create by waving a magic wand. Don't get caught up in the steps you will take yet. Don't waste energy imagining risks. Treat it as a game "if I could wave a magic wand to create this future, what would I create?" 
     
  3. Orient to the future:
    Challenge the present. Vision refers to seeing the end of the journey, it is not limited to the present ground. A bold vision statement challenges the present by saying "we may be here, but there is where we are going." So describe the changed reality that your company has already created by taking this journey.
     
  4. Provide a simple point of focus:
    Think of your vision as a camera lens. It brings things into focus for you and your team. To create focus, it will need to be simple and easy to remember. 
     
  5. Inspire: 
    The language in your vision statement needs to invite people to take a journey with you. Provoke strong emotion and excitement with vivid imagery. That's the key to creating your enticing and clear "north star".

Core Value Examples: Lego

Core Value Examples: Lego

Imagination
Curiosity asks why? and imagines explanations or possibilities. Playfulness asks what if? and imagines how the ordinary becomes extraordinary, fantasy or fiction. Dreaming it is a first step towards doing it. Free play is how children develop their imagination – the foundation for creativity.

Creativity
Creativity is the ability to come up with ideas and things that are new, surprising and valuable. Systematic creativity is a particular form of creativity that combines logic and reasoning with playfulness and imagination.

Fun
Fun is the happiness we experience when we are fully engaged in something (hard fun) that requires mastery, when our abilities are in balance with the challenge at hand and we are making progress towards a goal. Fun is being active together, the thrill of an adventure, the joyful enthusiasm of children and the delight in surprising both yourself and others in what you can do or create.

Learning
Learning is about being curious, experimenting and collaborating – expanding our thinking and doing (hands-on, minds-on), helping us develop new insights and new skills. We learn through play by putting things together, taking them apart, and putting them together in different ways, thereby creating new things, and developing new ways of thinking about ourselves, and the world.

Caring
Caring is about the desire to make a positive difference in the lives of children, for our partners, colleagues and the world we live in, and considering their perspective in everything we do. Doing that little extra, not because we have to – but because it feels right and because we care.

Quality
From a reputation for manufacturing excellence to becoming trusted by all – we believe in quality that speaks for itself and earns us the recommendation of all. For us quality means the challenge of continuous improvement to be the best play material, the best for children and their development and the best to our community and partners.

Vision Statement Examples: Apple

Vision Statement Examples: Apple

“We believe that we’re on the face of the Earth to make great products.

We believe in the simple, not the complex.

We believe that we need to own and control the primary technologies behind the products we make.

We participate only in markets where we can make a significant contribution.

We believe in saying no to thousands of projects so that we can really focus on the few that are truly important and meaningful to us.

We believe in deep collaboration and cross-pollination of our groups, which allow us to innovate in a way that others cannot.

We don’t settle for anything less than excellence in every group in the company, and we have the self-honesty to admit when we’re wrong and the courage to change.”

Mission Statement Examples: Whole Foods

Mission Statement Examples: Whole Foods

“Whole Foods Market is a dynamic leader in the quality food business. We are a mission-driven company that aims to set the standards of excellence for food retailers. We are building a business in which high standards permeate all aspects of our company. Quality is a state of mind at Whole Foods Market.”