F R OM T H E F O U N D E R
I was talking to my brother, John, yesterday afternoon on the telephone. John – after a long career at the top of the world’s largest group of advertising and marketing companies, WPP Group – is now the chairman of a company called Neuro-Insight, a firm that measures brain activity in response to a client’s promotional efforts. If you’re not doing a good job with these, you’re losing an opportunity to further your culture and to provide meaningful motivation to your employees. Mission, vision, and values – real, or just B.S.
As is often the case, we eventually ended our phone call talking about business. After we railed on one of the latest management fad programs – one I won’t name to avoid alienating any of our readers who are currently implementing it – we got to “mission, vision, and values.” Our consensus is that while these things are incredibly important, most CEOs don’t even knowwhat they are for their own firms, much less do anything to make them real. His contention is that whenever you talk about employee performance, it should always be in the context of those things and whether or not the employee did anything to further them or not. I didn’t disagree with him. I think far too many company owners in our industry think that these are things they write versus things they live. It’s just another academic exercise that wastes everyone’s time, and gives cynical employees ammunition to criticize management. That’s a problem.
I wish I could wave my magic wand and make every AEC firm’s mission, vision, and values statements more real and more substantive. But I can’t. Yet it’s really important, especially today when we work in an industry that faces huge talent shortages – where employees desperately crave purpose and meaning – and one made up of firms that are actually doing something good for society, and should not have a hard time with this. Why can’t we do a better job with these things (mission, vision, and values statements)? I have several theories on it. First and foremost, there are just too many “management junkies” out there working as principals of AEC firms who read every new book and listen to every podcast, and eat it all up without considering the qualifications and experience of the sources of this content. They love this stuff and
See MARK ZWEIG, page 12
THE ZWEIG LETTER JANUARY 31, 2022, ISSUE 1426
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