In the first two parts of this series of articles we explored the importance of having a mission statement (which provides the organization with a clear meaning and purpose), a vision statement (which provides personnel direction in the form of a mental picture of what the organization wants to achieve at some point in the future) and pointed out that the vision and mission statements need to be more than something just hanging on the walls of the office, printed in the organization’s literature, and talked about in new employee orientation.

For a mission statement to become a mission and for a vision statement to become a vision, it has to be implanted in the hearts of the organization’s employees and decisions must be made on the basis of whether the decision is consistent with the mission and will help the organization achieve its vision.

Since a vision statement is not a vision until there is buy-in from the organization’s employees, we also provided some methods of gaining buy-in from employees.

In part 3, we focused on another essential ingredient in the process of building or reshaping organizational culture – core values. Core values are the principles, beliefs and philosophy by which the organization operates. In that column, we also provided a process for identifying and/or creating organizational values.

This month we will wrap up our discussion on values by focusing on instilling them in the organization.

Organizations that are effective, customer-focused, and employee oriented, develop a clear, concise and shared meaning of values/beliefs, priorities, and direction within their organization.

The organization’s administrators want every employee to understand the values, contribute to the values, and live the values. Once defined, the values should impact every aspect of your organization.

For the values adopted to have an impact, the following must occur.

  • Employees demonstrate and model the values in action in their personal work behaviors, decision making, contribution, and interpersonal interaction.
  • Organizational values help each person establish priorities in their daily work life.
  • Values guide every decision that is made once the organization has cooperatively created the values and the value statements.
  • Rewards and recognition within the organization are structured to recognize those people whose work embodies the values the organization has embraced.
  • Organizational goals are grounded in the identified values.
  • Adoption of the values and the behaviors that result are recognized in regular performance feedback.
  • The organization hires and promotes individuals whose outlook and actions are congruent with the values.

Only the active participation of all members of the organization will ensure a truly organization-wide, value-based, shared culture.

Next month, we will begin discussing in detail the three activities that must occur to create a specific organizational culture.

If you have any questions regarding what has been discussed in this series or if you have a suggestion for a future column, please contact me at

Building or Reshaping Organizational Culture Part 4