As we embark on a new year of delivering on our mission of fulfilling our clients’ strategic imperatives, including predictable business performance and significantly enhanced profits, I want to explore the concept of mission-driven leadership further and the methods by which we will accomplish client transformations.
As I discussed previously, mission-driven leadership is about serving our clients by focusing on their missions to create the desired outcomes. Having a clear mission inspires engagement and helps boost company performance. Our client delivery teams must focus on understanding what our clients’ missions are and aligning the company to these missions and the top executives.
According to Chris Groscurth, PhD, Senior Practice Consultant of the Gallup organization, “To instill a passion for the company’s purpose, the best leaders in the world hold managers accountable for addressing employees’ basic engagement needs. Then they focus on aligning mission, culture and brand to empower high performance among individuals and teams. By providing this strategic direction, mission-driven leaders maximize employee engagement as a key driver of organizational performance and as a strong predictor of business success.”
With mission-driven leadership, everyone in an organization has a role to play. In this article, I’ll focus on what the leadership team must do as mission-driven leaders.
Mission-driven executive leaders administer quantitative accountability to the organization and embody the needs of those they lead. In other words, you’re not only serving the company’s needs but also the people who report to you. The objective for Brooks International’s executive leadership is to instill passion for the client’s and the company’s mission in all employees.
Mission-driven leaders bear the responsibility of instilling that passion for mission achievement throughout the organization. They must assess whether their managers have the skills, knowledge and talent to manage to the mission. They must affirm what the company plans to achieve and push toward the desired results. They also must teach managers how to align daily operations with the company’s mission. It’s the leader’s job to ensure appropriate behaviors are demonstrated and to reconcile, by addressing values and beliefs, when they are not.
In pursuit of mission achievement, all Brooks’ engagements require a standard approach of clearly defining the “as-is” condition in order to determine and define the “to-be” state. Our account directors demonstrate mission-driven leadership when presenting the proposed to-be operating model to members of the Brooks’ leadership team in advance of presenting to the client. This process provides an opportunity to reconcile to the client’s mission, which is our mission.
The leadership team provides a peer review from multiple perspectives with insights based on collective experiences across multiple projects and industries. This process is a critical element in preparing for implementation of the operating model in support of the client’s strategic imperative (his/her mission).
Secondly, leaders must instill in their teams an intensity of purpose and discipline to process. They must reconcile team roles to the mission, translating application of the Brooks’ methodology, and driving achievement of quantifiable business outcomes that meet or exceed client expectations. Leadership and management disciplines support mission-driven leadership.
Finally, leaders must have a clear understanding of the behavioral obligations they have when leading their organizations. This is about taking a consistent approach. That approach must demonstrate at all times a central focus on business impact and desired culture. We often work with client organizations where the critical messages never make their way past the middle level of management. We must model the behavior we expect of the client, acting as mission-driven leaders, and ensure this does not happen.
Mission-driven leadership is the key driver of organizational performance. Understanding and embracing the mission drives loyalty throughout the organization, fosters engagement, and improves strategic alignment and clarity of purpose and judgment. Connecting work behaviors to the company’s ultimate mission or purpose is measurable in both performance and the level of employee engagement.
With a thorough understanding of the mission, leaders coach managers to advance the mission and evaluate the effect of business strategies on the mission.
When success is achieved in fulfilling the mission, it is imperative that leaders identify the successes, share those successes and celebrate achievements with the team.
In the next article in the series, we’ll take a look at the role managers play in mission-driven leadership.