7 Steps for a mission-driven organization

23 August 2017
23 August 2017, Comments: 0


Mission statements drive behavior. The Johnson & Johnson mission saved the company. Does your organization measure up?

In the well-known Tylenol tampering incident in 1982, Johnson & Johnson (J&J) followed its mission of “We believe our first responsibility is to the doctors, nurses, patient, mothers and fathers who use our product and services” and pulled all Tylenol drugs from shelves, recalled the drug and gave refunds for partially used bottles.

Since the tampering occurred in the stores, it wasn’t officially a J&J problem. However CEO, James Burke, followed the mission and cost the company over $100 million. However, the company rebounded from the loss and now represents an organization that can be trusted.

If there was an event where employees had to make a tough decision and follow the mission or not, what would they do?

We don’t how anyone will act in a particular situation, but if you’d like to create a mission-driven organization here’s what to do:

  1. Involve employees at all levels in the creation and updating of your mission – Hold sessions for employees to give feedback the draft mission and use this feedback to make a better product. Depending upon the size of your organization, you might include employees from different levels of the organization on the planning team.
  2. Ensure every employee understands what the mission means on a daily basis – Communicate what the mission means and its impact on how employees do their jobs. Organize regular discussions between supervisor and employee to ensure employees know specifically what they will do to live out the mission in their roles.
  3. Keep mission top of mind – People forget about what isn’t in front of them. Continue communicating about the mission through leadership speeches, emails, websites, posters, surveys, and regular supervisor meetings.
  4. Share success stories – We are a verbal culture, people remember stories. Share stories of employees making choices in alignment with the mission.
  5. Add living the mission to their goals – In order to keep employees aligned with the mission (and vision and values), have goals around following the mission in their annual performance goals.
  6. Model the behaviors – Leaders are being watched. Every leader must model the proper way of following the values each day. There are no exceptions!
  7. Reinforce desired activities – Trying anything new is difficult. Leaders need to reinforce behaviors following the mission.


Creating a mission is the easy part. Driving it down into the organization so that people make decisions based upon it is the tough part.

If you’d like some assistance in creating a mission-driven organization contact me Valerie.MacLeod@HainesCentre.com

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