New Beginnings for LFCS: Journey of Discovery
Today I dropped my child to day care for the first time. Yes, all the natural responses were there – fear, anxiety and dread as well as the feeling of awe in seeing my little boy take his first steps into being a social, engaged, good citizen of the world! Of course another interesting response I see is when the new day care teacher or other parents ask me – so what is that you do? When I respond proudly "I am an organisational psychologist!" I get some of the same responses listed above!
This has been a challenge for the profession and for every young graduate getting out there after they have completed their Masters or PhD. What is it that you do? Interestingly, I was asked this same question in our boardroom when Left Field invited a marketing/advertising guru to visit our team and help us develop a strategy and vision. I have worked with enough brands and organisations to know that Left Field required a clear vision. I also know, after delivering this support to other businesses, that I couldn't possibly be the facilitator for our small team. So when he came, he asked about 15 times – What is that you do? What is your purpose? What do your clients walk away with?
The team were getting frustrated – we knew the feeling we wanted to express but we didn't have the words. After a day of going round in circles…
We arrived at our vision: "to provide clarity and confidence to your people". Yes our profession allows us to execute this vision utilising psychological science, however the reason our clients connect with us is because they believed in our vision even before we could articulate it in the boardroom. We provided clarity about their most valuable resource, people – we cut through the noise and provided solutions that actually would work in improving performance, productivity and engagement of people. We also provided confidence that those solutions will work and will create behavioural change in the workplace in a positive and meaningful way.
How valuable is it to sit in a room and go round in circles! Even if you don't have a business – what is your team vision, your own personal vision? When you articulate it your eyes really open up and you create energy that vibrates outward.
From our vision we launched into defining our strategy which resulted in 4 clearly articulated key strategic goals all linked to our new vision! The trick with this was to ‘sense check’ why we thought those strategic goals would breathe life into our vision – if a goal didn't do this then get rid of it, if it did align then put action plans against it and assign accountability. We know that what gets measured, gets done!
We reviewed our goals 3 months down the track and boy did we hit some targets and we also recognised that with other targets we might have been a bit ambitious – but that was okay – we viewed the strategy not as some pristine, well-formatted, glossy document but a well-worn, crinkled, coffee-stained guide for us to keep revisiting. Then Jess piped up and said – what about our values – shouldn't we define them?
I'm sure it's a chicken and egg thing – do you define your values first and then you articulate your vision? Well, we found that the values came together easily after doing a card sort which we have facilitated for our clients when developing their values. Of course, being a group of people that love values for the sake of values we picked out 10 values and we were really wedded to all of them. And for those clients that have attended our values session you will be yelling out "But you said we can only have 3 –4 values!” Yes, that's true. So again we went around in circles. We had two meetings over a period of 3 months to go around in circles…
Then, it just came together at the beginning of this year. Click! We reviewed our vision, our strategic objectives and added one more objective. And then we pulled out our values and it clicked for us. Our values are:
- People Impact (our clients)
- Nerdy Fun (the science we employ)
- Collective Minds (our team)
My lessons for crafting a vision, strategic objectives and values is to take the time to sit and discuss. It is okay that it might feel uncomfortable if you are unable to articulate it straight away – in fact that is part of the process. Because once you do – everything falls into place. Then revisit, adjust, and change.
- Kelly Maniatis, Managing Director