Do Your Firm’s Core Value Have Any Meaning For You? | Career Angles

Whether you’re a manager or on staff, your firm’s mission statement and core values are a reliable touchstone . . . except no one knows them.

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I remember many years ago going to visit someone at the old Merrill Lynch in the World Financial Center in New York, across the street from where the World Trade Center used to be. I walked into their building and I noticed up on the walls and in the lobby, there was a statement that I would guess was the mission statement of the old Merrill Lynch. I don't remember what it said; I could Google it but it doesn't really matter because the next part is that when I visited the client on another floor, I spent a little time talking with them and asked them, "Out of curiosity, what's the mission statement of the firm? Any idea?"
He paused for a second and it clearly had become white noise for him. Itwas something in the background. He was able to fumble out a couple of words, maybe as a phrase, something along those lines but it really didn't sit with him.
Thus, mission statements for many of your organization's become pointless exercises. Now, I believe that we try to create or should try to create a culture either with intention, or it happens for us. And for those of you who are in senior leadership, are you really invested in that mission statement? If not, rewrite it. Seriously, just rewrite it.
It doesn't have to be that one that's up on the wall unless there's a founding figure who is really invested in that who's still alive, and it's become the advertising brand for the organization. Very few of you are dealing with situations like that. But where you can permeate the culture with that mission, with that vision for where this organization fits in the world, it makes a huge difference.
I know I've encouraged people, when they interview senior leadership to ask, "out of curiosity, do you have a sense of what our mission statement is." I do that for the very simple reason that it's a place of internal alignment, that allows people to know whether or not they're making smart decisions, not just from the tactical standpoint because those can be like a feather in the air just being blown from place to place where people think it's the right choice, but it's not anchored into anything.
A good mission statement has to be reflected in the organization, from top management on down. and it's a connection place for everyone. I know I'm doing a podcast interview with someone who wants to know the questions that I, as a coach, would ask. They do this with all the guests. It's nothing unique to me. That's the theme. What are the questions you ask?
What I spoke about, or will speak about what because it's being recorded on Friday, are three questions that are designed to anchor everyone from the frenzy of our days so that we can get to the core point. I'll remind you that that's what our mission statement is supposed to do is supposed to answer a lot of the questions that leadership wants their people to focus in on in making choices. If you are manager, a director, a VP, a Managing Director, whatever level you are, one of the simplest things to ask your people when they come to you for a decision is, "let's put this into the context of the firm and its mission statement. How does it play together? How does it work with it or doesn't.
I'm Jeff Altman. I hope you found this helpful. Visit my website, or I've got a lot more on both sites that you can watch, listen to or read that will help you. is where all my content resides. So, if you're job hunting, trying to hire people, looking for advice about that, being a more effective manager leader, or being more effective in your career, that's the site for you.
Hope you have a great day and if you're interested in one on one coaching with me, at that site, you can schedule a free discovery call.


Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a career and leadership coach who worked as a recruiter for more than 40 years. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 1500 episodes and his newest show, “No BS Coaching Advice.” He is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council. “No BS JobSearch Advice Radio” was recently named a Top 10 podcast for job search. was also recently named a Top 10 YouTube channel for job search.

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