Building and leading a team that perfectly exemplifies your financial institution’s mission, vision, and values starts with defining your mission, vision, and values. These components are critical for any business endeavor, as they will come to define its ultimate purpose, drive business goals, and create room for your corporate culture to develop and evolve. Getting these down on paper will help your leadership to recruit and hire the right people, secure lasting customer relationships, navigate through hard times, and build a solid foundation of values and principles that can help guide your institution’s future, no matter what comes.
Clearly define your vision and mission statement
Organizations with effective teams can build a solid foundation for success with a well-defined mission statement and a clear vision for the future. Leadership is responsible for implementing and ensuring employee buy-in to the fundamental principles, goals, and values that are laid out in the mission statement. Employees who become attached to the vision and believe they are making a difference are more likely to remain loyal and committed to your financial institution.
It's important to note that over time, your institution will change and evolve. You may experience dramatic growth or reduction in the number of workers you employ, go through a merger or acquisition, have a product line that becomes stale or obsolete, or change how you operate for regulatory reasons. No one can tell the future with 100% accuracy, but as the saying goes, "change is the only constant."
In the years to come, many things could happen that would force your organization to change what it does or how it does it. And, as your institution evolves, your mission and/or vision may need to evolve, too. When your institution experiences change—whether on a large or small scale—make sure you revisit your mission, vision, and values to ensure that they are still relevant and that all your employees still stand behind them.
Decide the core values that your team will live by
In a business context, core values are the values and principles that guide an institution's actions, unite its employees, and define its brand. When employees have a clear understanding of their collective goal, they are able to better internalize the organization's core values. This empowers team members to make decisions that align with and perpetuate the mission and vision.
Leadership should take a proactive role and define the core company values, if not already established. Since every financial institution is unique, the values and principles of the institution should be authentic and reflect the true character of the organization. Taking the time to define core values for your institution is time well spent because your values should project your institution’s brand message.
Core values help employees learn what is important to your organization, what role they play in embodying those values, and how they can affect the institution overall. When employees demonstrate core values, they help create a positive working atmosphere where everyone can "live the culture."
Identify and shape your institution’s culture
A financial institution's culture commonly refers to employees’ shared beliefs and values and how they’re “brought to life” in the workplace. Every organization has its own company culture and brand image that they want to project. There is no one-size-fits-all.
Take some time to find out how your institution is being perceived by several audiences—potential clients, current account holders, job candidates, employees, and former employees.
After taking the time to investigate your company culture, you should have an idea on how to craft a strategy to create an even more energetic and engaging workplace. Going forward, measure results both qualitatively and quantitatively. Together, the results will provide a clear picture of how your company culture ranks. Make sure you and your executive team ‘walk the talk’ to be effective. Lastly, remember it is a living project and needs to constantly be re-visited.
Your institution's mission statement, vision, and core values will help you to make difficult business decisions, navigate through uncertain times, grow into the future, and find the right employees that will add to your institution's brand and business performance.
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