One of the most popular tasks for executives leading organizations is to complete the process of building vision and mission statements. It’s a great process to determine the best goals and objectives for the organization. It’s also a great opportunity for everyone to come together to work on a project that provides clear direction for the organization. However, it’s one of those activities which can have negative results if leaders aren’t careful. If the statements are ignored after they are crafted, the people in the organization will consider the process as a waste of time and a lack of commitment by the organization’s leaders. With this in mind, you need to ask: what vision and mission am I communicating?

To maintain a high level of commitment, consider your statements as the most important roadmap to success. Review them to ensure that your organization is always headed in the right direction. Here are 5 key points to review:

Ensure that your vision and mission statements are clear and well-communicated – so that you can strongly support it.

It’s important to review your vision and mission statements on a regular basis. Do they align with what you want to accomplish as an organization? If not, you need to start working on a better defined pair of statements to put you in the right direction. If your statements are clearly stated, put a high degree of emphasis on them. Furthermore, you need to put your strong support behind them. It’s not good enough for you to share these statements with your team. You need to be able to believe them and to believe in the values that drive them. With these concepts in mind, you need for you and your team to be able to trust them. With that in mind, align with what they say and what they represent.

Refer every major goal and objective of your team to your vision and mission statements.

Your vision and mission statements are the fundamental standard. During your team meetings, everything relates to your statements. If you are going to stay aligned with your statements, everything your organization says and does must be within the scope of what you’ve decided. Use your vision and mission statements as your foundational template. Compare every plan, every idea, and every process against them. If something discussed as a proposed idea doesn’t align with the statement, there should be a warning signal that this idea needs to be initially rejected until it does align well.

Review your vision and mission statements on a regular basis – both for yourself and for your team.

We need to review the direction we are heading. Sometimes our vision and mission statements need to change as our organizations’ core values change. We can find that, after time, we need to change direction or we need to define our core values better. It’s better to figure out that a change is necessary and to make that change happen, versus the choice of ignoring our statements until some time in the future. Or sometimes we find that we’ve been drifting out of alignment to the point that we’ve adopted a different vision and mission over time that really isn’t in the best interests of the organization. In either case, we need to review our statements to ensure that we’re moving in the right direction. Make a point to schedule reviews of the vision and mission statements on your leadership team’s calendar – and to complete those reviews.

Encourage your team to adopt the vision and mission statements as their own.

It’s easy for executives to promote the vision and mission statements of the organization.  It can be a little harder to get everyone to adopt the vision and mission statements as their own. To align everyone in the organization, however, it’s important to help everyone understand and adopt the vision and mission statements in a personal way. It is important for everyone to understand what’s going on.  It’s also important to engender trust and commitment. Help team members see how they fit within the statements and to help them grow within the organization.

Strategize ways to make your vision and mission statements more impactful and vivid in your organization.

Vision and mission statements should stand on their own. What makes them more powerful, however, is when leadership can make them more powerful. You can show your organization’s team members how your vision and mission statements are active in your organization. Promote individuals and teams as they meet the goals and objectives of the vision and mission statements.  You can also show how particular actions and activities have made a major impact in relation to your vision and mission statements. Talking about exceptional customer service, making processes more efficient, and going out of the way to serve others are simple ways you can “paint the picture” which your organization’s members can see the statements in action. Take the time to tell those stories.  You will find more people taking interest and adopting those statements as their own.

Don’t allow your vision and mission statements to be something posted on a wall. Make them a living and breathing document that has significant impact in your organization.