• dragonfish

Defining and embedding vision, purpose and values

Updated: Apr 17, 2019


On Wednesday 1 March, we had our second breakfast briefing of the year. With over 35 attendees from a number of organisations from a range of sectors, we discussed Defining and embedding Vision, Purpose and Values to drive high performance. Referring to the research that we developed in partnership with Bournemouth University last year, we showed that large companies growing revenue by more than 20% year on year were 3 times more likely to have articulated a reason for existing beyond just to make money. With such a clear business case that purpose drives profit, why do so many organisations fail to get this right?


Large companies growing revenue by more than 20% year on year were 3 times more likely to have articulated a reason for existing beyond just to make money

We delved into what gets in the way of truly embedding Vision, Purpose and Values for large organisations, with three major talking points:


1. Avoiding the ‘define it all in an exec meeting’ approach – The knee jerk reaction to a lack of vision. An exec team bands together for a meeting to tick the box that it’s done, with no real time taken or insight considered to make sure it’s going to work. No robust market insight. No rigour, customer or employee insight. No impact.


2. Avoiding framework Overload – Brand values vs. Organisational values. Leadership behaviours vs. Competency frameworks. Sound familiar? Piling frameworks upon frameworks only leads to confusion or general apathy and loses momentum and buy in from the start.


3. Avoiding the ‘big launch and fizzle’ approach – a classic. Vision, Purpose and Values are carefully crafted, they are launched with a high impact content and experiences, but within a few months they’re forgotten and are hardly mentioned again. These are usually received well by employees at the time and can create excitement, but with a lack of action following these are quickly met with cynicism.


The key learnings from the shortfalls of these approaches are:

  • Do it once and do it properly. This means ensuring all inputs are informed by market, customer and employee insight. And all outputs are strategically robust, credible and set to drive the business forward.

  • Keep it simple. The alignment that one simple framework on a page can give an organisation is powerful stuff and undoubtedly fuels high performance.

  • A high impact launch is great for building awareness, but to embed for the long term we believe in McCall, Lombardo and Eichinger’s 10 / 20 / 70 rule.

10% of success comes from people hearing it for the first time. This is why a strong launch is important, but it shouldn’t take the focus of the effort. 20% comes from giving leaders and managers the tools and confidence to role model the behaviour shift required. A massive 70% comes from shaping and optimising your team’s daily experience at work. From recruitment and induction, to the office environment and how goals are set. The key is to get into the detail and identify the small things that are going to make a big difference.


For more information on how dragonfish helps organisations to create alignment through Vision, Purpose and Values development, contact Tina Hennessey on tina.hennessey@dragonfishuk.com or 023 8082 8505.