Navigating Organizational Change with a Strong Mission Statement

The theme defining the business world for the past few years can be summed up in one word: disruption. With more technology, people and organizations, changes are occurring at an unprecedented rate.
It’s these times of upheaval that make or break businesses; those that aren’t ready to change are weeded out, while those that are prepared adapt and thrive.

What Prompts Organizational Change?

No one likes change; it brings what many fear most: uncertainty. However, by understanding the sources of disruption, such as politics, culture or economics, we can gain a better ability to navigate the changes that occur in our lives and businesses.

Political changes are one major avenue that can spark organizational change. For example, if shifts are created in taxation or foreign policy, huge impacts can follow regarding how organizations operate.

Additionally, regulatory changes that disrupt supply chains or labor markets force organizations to adapt. Economic changes, such as the presence of an innovative competitor in the market can have the same effect. Similarly, growth or decline in quarterly earnings often prompts an organization to transform.

Beyond these external shifts, internal shifts can spark the need for change; an abrupt retirement or death might lead to an unexpected disruption in management.

With change coming at us from all these directions, managing it can seem overwhelming. However, with the right approach, every transition can be navigated with ease.

Staying Focused on Your Mission Amidst Disruption

No matter what factors are driving change, one key principle will always remain the same: stay centered on your mission.

Your mission is your organization’s north star. No matter what storms the ship encounters, by following the north star, it will find its destination. To do so, you must understand how every component of your organization serves your overarching mission.

With this in mind, it’s clear to see that the companies that fail amidst disruption are those that have an unclear mission statement or those who do not stick to it. Here are some examples:

Barnes & Noble

Barnes & Noble’s mission statement reads, “To operate the best omni-channel specialty retail business in America, helping both our customers and booksellers reach their aspirations while being a credit to the communities we serve.”

From this, it’s quite obvious why the company failed in competing with Amazon and other online book distributors; its mission is to be a “retail business.”

Wells Fargo

On the other hand, Wells Fargo is a company that’s still managing to succeed despite its many setbacks. One key reason for this is their strong mission; it simply reads: “helping customers succeed financially.”

When the organization’s integrity was called into question, they did what was necessary to stay true to their mission. As such, they’re still an organization today with many satisfied customers.

Embracing Change Through Innovation and Resilience

It’s clear that embracing change and having the ability to adapt and innovate is the key to longevity in an organization.