Supplement Tool 2A : The Steps to Writing a Mission and Value Statement
Step 1: Review Your Organization’s Mission Statement
Review your organization’s larger Mission Statement. Look for the overall direction of the enterprise. What is your organization trying to accomplish? Is the organization primarily a manufacturer of a product? A provider of services? An agency for the interests of a public, or an agent for a group of common interests? A keeper of protocols or regulations? How does your organization describe its purpose and its aims for the future?
Make a short list of common themes that arise continually from the information put forth by the organization, or merely the statement(s) frequently made by the owners/founders/leaders. How are the organization’s vision and mission described or talked about? What are the organization’s wishes for its future? How is the organization’s purpose emphasized? Does the organization seem to emphasize the quality of its products? Performance of the whole? Growth of the enterprise? Does it emphasize culture? Quality of life for its employees? This is the first place to start thinking about a Mission Statement that would have a similar focus.
Step 2: Review Your Organization’s Values
Review your organization’s values. As mentioned previously, values are manifested in expected behaviors. Now, you want to look at the specific values your organization espouses that point toward expected employee behavior. Your organization will likely address three to four core values such as honesty, fairness, concern for others, and achievement. These values might be on the company Web site, or in an employee handbook. The organization will likely describe its values in a distinct vernacular, using each described value as a behavior guide for reaching tomorrow’s vision. Below is a general description of each of the four core values found at most organizations.
Honesty: Being honest is telling the truth in an open and forthright manner. Honesty means being willing to share information and sharing it freely, not holding anything back. Honesty involves speaking truthfully and revealing all the important information. The information that is provided is accurate and complete; it’s not just part of the story or only a few facts. Honesty is telling the whole truth consistently, while not embellishing or distorting. It is an intention not to mislead or misinform.
Fairness: Fairness means being impartial and doing what is right. It also means displaying consistent actions and decisions across different situations and between different persons. Fairness involves being dependable and reliable; someone who can be counted upon to consider all of the parties impacted.
Concern for Others: Concern for others means caring about the well-being of other people and helping them out. Being concerned for the general well-being of others includes assisting them in their achievements and their pursuit of happiness. Concern for others means not being opportunistic, not taking advantage of other people, and not being self-serving. Concern for others is an attitude of taking action to benefit other individuals in the workplace—action to assist, substitute, or help out. It involves behavior which protects the interests of others, for the benefit of all.
Achievement: Achievement, or accomplishment, involves being competent and maintaining a certain skill level to do the tasks at hand. Achievement is a desire to get things done, and it involves pursuing hard work to accomplish goals. The concept represents a commitment to complete the tasks at hand. Achievement can include prioritizing different demands to succeed in accomplishing personal objectives effectively, and it can involve meeting expectations of a work nature because one is being relied upon.
Your organization may include terms other than the ones above as additional values, such as diversity, integrity, or teamwork. If so, look at each key value and determine how your organization emphasizes these concepts. How does your organization describe these expectations? What does your organization mean by its values? How do the values guide the behaviors of members within your organization? Look, too, for values, which are idiosyncratic to your organization, or expected behaviors, which the organization has adopted as values. Idiosyncratic behavior expectations arise in words such as speed, ignite, or big.
Make a short list of the core values at your organization. Look at how your organization expresses each one. Examine the words used to describe each value, and review which ones seem to be more important, or emphasized most often. Use these words as starting places for the words needed to express your learning & development department values.
Step 3: Check Execution or Changes to the Mission
Check for any changes to how your organization executes its mission. Have there been any new strategic initiatives announced recently? What is being worked on now that is being done for long-term effect? What is being worked on now for a change in the future? There might be a new product initiative, a new product development, or a product upgrade. Your organization may have had to recall a product for deficiencies, or it may be adding new products to its manufacturing base. There might be a new service initiative, such as a relationship emphasis, or a customer service mandate. Has your organization undergone a big structural change, merger, or divestiture? Have there been any significant changes to processes or policies? Look for technology improvements or adoptions that are driving changes in the workflow at your organization or driving changes in how people task out their work.
All of these are key business changes that will alter both the intermediate and long-term effort of the organization. Any long-term effort will eventually have an effect on the organization’s Mission Statement. Check with other key managers within your organization. Discuss any large initiatives or change efforts that everyone is aware of, or which everyone is anticipating. Determine how strongly those new ideas are being absorbed across the enterprise.
Step 4: Assess the Learning & Development Department’s Position
Assess the learning & development department’s position as it matches both the original mission and values, and the identified changes. What does your learning & development department do in its educational and skill-building efforts that are also related to product, service, creativity, process, or agency? What does your learning & development department create, foster, and promote in its educational efforts? How does the learning & development department support the products, service, creativity, and agency of the organization as a whole? How does the learning & development department presently support any major strategic efforts underway?
Take a re-look at your learning & development department’s mission, or what you wrote above. Does your training mission need to be updated because of an update to the organization’s mission? You may want to include specific initiatives, or ideas about those initiatives, in your learning & development department’s written Mission Statement.
Step 5: Create Learning &
Development Department’s Mission and Values Statement
Write down the learning & development department’s Mission and Values Statement, specific to the learning and education effort within your organization today. You can split this into a mission segment, and a values segment, if preferred.
Your learning & development department’s Mission and Values Statement is one brief document that reflects the unit’s authority for the education of all members and the responsibility for administering all training programs. The learning & development department’s Mission and Values Statement specifically depicts the development of learning programs for a long-term purpose, and that purpose must be linked to (support of) the organization’s purpose. It needs to be a statement, which supports the continued development of educational content for employees in pursuit of the mission of the larger organization. You want to write your long-term training pathway. You will want to cover two key aspects of your learning & development department’s Mission Statement. Those two aspects are:
What the learning & development department does for the employees of the organization.
How that effort supports the mission of the organization overall.
These two aspects can be a simple two sentences and in that manner can actually comprise the whole of your Mission Statement. However, it’s hard to be succinct and still be complete. Here are two examples:
Sample Training Mission Statements
The training department of ABC Bank focuses upon comprehensive financial education in individual, corporate, and trust-related finances and is established to assist ABC Bank in its mission as a financial enterprise serving both individual clients and commercial businesses.
The professional Training and Development Community focuses on working with agency leaders to predict and develop strategies/approaches that continue to improve a workforce capable of accomplishing NPS strategic goals. (National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, retrieved March 2, 2018)
The values segment included in the statement needs to confirm the behaviors expected within the organization and describe those behaviors with a learning/educational meaning. Your learning values need to link to the values of the organization as a whole and address each of the organization’s core values as expected learning behaviors. Below are some helpful hints to what you might consider regarding core values for a learning effort.
Honesty in Learning—What does honesty mean for instructional designers, facilitators, training planners, and all the training employees? Does it mean open in content? Does honesty in training mean complete and comprehensive in content? What does it mean for content to contain all the needed components in your programs? Is the training effort comprehensive or focused? Are all the skills necessary to the enterprise addressed in the learning & development department?
Fairness in Learning—How is learning offered to the members? Is learning available to all employees? Can individuals request training on their own, or do they need to be sponsored by a superior? How is learning assessed? Are programs evaluated for their educational contribution to the organization? Are programs assessed on their monetary, or ROI, contribution? Are programs continually improved, or benchmarked for quality? How are programs compared when offered across different units within the organization?
Concern for Others in Learning—How does the learning & development department assist others in developing new knowledge and skills? What concerns about the employees are considered in training designs? How does training assist employees in developing new attitudes, or in developing interpersonal and managerial skills? How does it educate individuals so they can best utilize the benefits, services, and personnel offerings of the organization? How are conflicts managed or conflict issues addressed? How do the training efforts support team unity or group productivity?
Achievement in Learning—How does the learning & development department measure its own success? How does it know it is meeting the educational needs of the members? How does learning enhance employee accomplishments? How does the learning & development department accomplish its designed programs? What descriptors or words define the culture of accomplishment for a training professional? What does the learning & development department cultivate or promote regarding professional development?
Diversity in Learning—What does diversity mean in a learning and educational environment? What values are promoted that drive diversity and inclusion? How does the learning & development department encourage inclusionary practices or protect individuals from discrimination and harassment? How is diversity approached in management practices and in outreach initaitives?
Quality of Work-life—How does the learning & development department support individuality? How does it respect differences, yet promote team effort? Is interpersonal trust promoted or developed among members? What does involvement in one’s own learning and development mean for training?
Step 6: Share the Learning & Development Department’s Mission and Values Statement
Write your Mission and Values Statement in a simple document that contains two segments: one for your mission and one for your values. Use your learning staff to collaborate and affirm the statement. Share your Mission and Values Statement with all members of the learning team and with other executives and organization managers. Place the mission and values document on your organization’s Web site, or on the learning & development department’s Web site. Make sure it is accessible to all employees. Spread the word throughout your organization of what the learning effort stands for, and how others can depend upon your training rigor and quality.