Most privately held small to medium sized family-owned businesses operate in a secretive environment, keeping communication about the business’ direction and success within the family and a very small group of key people. Business owners fail to realize that outside of the customer list, their team is its greatest asset. In these environments, the team is often kept in the dark with respect to company successes and its Mission, Vision and Values.
Most small to medium privately held businesses do not have a formal-documented (MVVS). The team sees the business owner(s) as the ones who need to supply all of the answers because the team has not been privy to the goals and future focus of the company. The lack of a clearly communicated MVVS leaves the team without direction—they simply follow a leader instead of assisting in achieving a goal. The mentality most likely comes from the belief that they or a previous family member started the business and therefore, know what is best for the business. These companies typically have a comfortable work environment and a content team, because they believe the owner is loyal to his/her people and their job security is good. Content typically does not result in a passionate and engaged team, focused on moving the company to the next level or watching for market changes that might prove damaging to the company. Relying solely on the owner to make certain that the business stays relevant is both risky and challenging—the team must be engaged and empowered to ensure maximum success.
Valuable information can be obtained when team members are given the opportunity to discuss in confidence what they really think and see. From these opportunities, owners are often enlightened to how much opportunity there is within the company.
A team that does not have clear objectives and values typically sees the company as one that responds to fires. They feel helpless, they are not consulted for their ideas, and, though they stay because the owner(s) is loyal, they fear for their professional and financial futures.
Whether a business has one or 100 employees, the MVVS are invaluable tools to guide employees towards one goal. Without these three key elements identified, documented and posted some place visible within the organization, the team comes into work each day in a robotic manner waiting for management to tell them what to do. Rather than striving to meet a specific goal or obtain a vision, employees become “pay check players”.
Developing a MVVS with your core leaders is essential to growing your company in a profitable and thoughtful manner. Having a plan that is developed with and committed to by the team, assures future success. It allows the team to be part of that success.
While it is true that some key people within an organization warrant increased pay and bonuses for helping achieve success and vision, the level of success of any given company is greater when the entire team is empowered, motivated and rewarded (incentives). Even after those rewards are achieved, owners typically have faster and greater success than they would have had without these concepts in place. MVVs, along with incentives, will also mitigate the risk of not being ahead of changes in the overall market, because now there are multiple team members watching what the market is doing—they are engaged and empowered to help steer the company towards future success and growth.
I have been fortunate throughout my career to experience the effectiveness of these concepts. I personally witnessed a small to medium-sized private company under new leadership transform the team after he set a MVVS for the company. He posted it in all of the company’s locations and constantly kept it at the forefront of his communications. He rewarded team members who successfully completed their annual goals that helped achieve each year’s plan and Vision. These initiatives grew the company from $125 million to $2.5 billion in the first 10 years. Today it is a more than $12 billion public company. Each year, he renews the company vision and reminds all constituents what the Mission and Values are, along with a new set of goals for the team.
The success of this company was not by chance. Its success was in large part because of the implementation of these important concepts. Prior to him leading the company, it was a successful company that grew nicely—the team knew that the family was loyal and that they would have a job for life if they chose that path. It was due to the new CEO consistently communicating to the team its Mission, Vision and Values, along with empowering and rewarding the team, which made the difference and took the company to faster long-term growth and success.
For more information on this topic, contact Nicholas P. Scafura, CPA – Operational Consulting Director of Grassi & Co., at firstname.lastname@example.org.