Organizational Consultation XVII The Chartering Process (Part Two)
What about New England Standard—how did we choose to appreciate the mission of this organization? Members of our team were fully aware of the rich sources of information that were available to us in identifying our client’s mission. We decided to focus primarily on the founding stories of the organization. This seemed appropriate, given that the founders were all still active in the organization. Furthermore, the founders all held key positions in this “leader-centric” organization (as identified in the organizational culture inventory). Members of our team also made extensive use of the formal promotional materials of the organization. We relied on these documents because we discovered soon after beginning to work with New England Standard that the company had frequently produced promotional material over the years that contained many statements regarding the mission of the organization.
Like many other organizations that are oriented to public relations, New England Standard has no paucity of statements regarding its mission. Instead, the appreciative challenge concerns a discovery of the relationship that exists among all of these statements. Perhaps one of the reasons why employees at New England Standard lack a clear sense of direction is that they are surrounded by many different formal declarations regarding the intentions of their organization. Which of these statements should they believe? What is public relations and what is really of importance at New England Standard?
Members of our team faced the problem of overabundant mission statements by constructing four sets of statements regarding organization mission, each set of statements serving as a basis for the next set. We proposed to Gary and the senior administrative team that it is essential for an organization to first identify its distinctive competencies. Members of our team made a preliminary assessment of New England Standard’s competencies by reviewing its many promotional documents, as well as reviewing the four interviews we had conducted with New England’s founders. We identified the following core competencies:
Competency One: New England Standard is a relatively small organization that primarily serves other small to medium-sized organization. Because it is small, New England Standard can be highly flexible and responsive to shifting client and market needs. New England Standard is not small, however, when it comes to financial resources. New England Standard has access to substantial financial resources. Consequently, New England Standard can successfully respond to major client needs. [“It is our size and approach that distinguishes New England Standard. We offer flexibility to develop a transaction that makes sense for the company and its cash flow requirements. Because of our direct management involvement, we can address our customers’ requests immediately and arrive at solutions quickly.” From New England Standard Brochure, 2011] [“When the customer calls, New England Standard is small enough to respond to their needs immediately, but large enough to support multi-million dollar transactions.” From interview with a founder]
Competency Two: Highly skilled and experienced employees with a strong service-orientation. Long-term history of New England Standard leaders asking a fundamental question: “how can I help?” A long-standing history of New England Standard leaders then delivering services that are requested by this client. [“This business is about people and establishing long-term relationships. At New England Standard we have the experience and the commitment to take an educated approach that offers customers a reliable financial partner with whom they can grow.” From: New England Standard Brochure 2010]
Competency Three: Capacity to move rapidly and skillfully into emerging professional service markets. Repeatedly demonstrated ability to shift direction and scope in response to shifting markets, technology and competition. [“New England Standard will continue to expand our customer base in existing industries. . . Because of New England Standard’s market awareness and the dedication of its people, we can continue to be an innovative and responsive . . . partner.” From: New England Standard Brochure 2011]
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