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  • Writer's picturedragonfish

The role managers play when it comes to Vision, Purpose and Values

Just about everyone has their own personal experience about the impact managers can have in the workplace, but have you ever stopped to think about the specific role that managers play when it comes to Vision, Purpose and Values.

One of the key findings of this year’s ‘Cracking the Culture Code 2.0’ research, which we conducted in partnership with the Market Research Group at Bournemouth University, is that middle managers play a fundamental role when it comes to driving and embedding culture change. Middle managers are the people who make an organisations’ Vision, Purpose and Values come to life for everyone else – so if they’re not on board, there’s a big problem.

In our research, we asked respondents 60 questions about Vision, Purpose and Values alongside 20 questions relating to organisational performance. When the VPV data was analysed in conjunction with the data on company performance, the three top drivers of performance in each category included at least one driver related to managers. This link was even stronger when considering Vision, which itself was the category most strongly correlated with performance; the two top drivers in this category were manager focused.

These findings aren’t problematic in themselves of course, however, when they are considered alongside one of our other key finding, alarm bells begin to ring. The other finding is that in all of the categories the three statements with the poorest scores were also about managers which suggests that managers really aren’t playing the role they need to be when it come to VPV.

When these findings are considered together, they paint a rather bleak picture of the current situation. However, as they say; every problem is just an opportunity in disguise. The very fact that so many companies are failing to get this right means there is a competitive advantage to be had by any that take the time to figure it out.

Whether you’re an employee thinking about your own manager’s approach, a senior leader thinking about the managers in your organisation, or you yourself are a manager, here are some things to reflect on in your organisation…

- Do managers use VPV in daily life, for example; to guide conversations, in team meetings, in performance discussions?

- Do managers support others to develop objectives that are aligned to VPV?

- Are managers trained, supported and provided with the tools to enable them to be advocates of the organisation’s VPV?

- Are managers given the time they need in order to prioritise VPV?

- Are individuals promoted/recruited for management positions in part based on alignment between their own personal values and those of the organisation?

Managers are responsible for putting the Vision, Purpose and Values into action in order to get individual and organisational performance, they are a key piece of the puzzle – the piece that translates VPV into the everyday and makes them real for everyone else. If they’re not bought into where the company is going, you can’t really expect the people they manage to be. Our research suggests that it’s time for organisations wake up to the importance of the role managers play and begin unlocking the performance that is waiting to be unleashed.


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