The gap between what an organisation says it stands for and what actually drives decision making creates a significant source of lost potential for any organisation. All organisations pursue a purpose. However vision and mission statements are often subverted by the decisions made for short-term objectives and crisis management. Customer and employee value statements are often degraded and become discredited by how people are treated day to day. Strategies are often abandoned as unexpected events threaten the numbers attached to budgets, bonuses, or personal performance targets. In all of these instances, the credibility of the leadership is weakened; the focus of the organisation is fractured; and the ability to rally people around a necessary change initiative is diminished by the discrepancy between what we say and how we act. It may be difficult to attach costs to any of these outcomes but the cost is likely to be substantial never the less. A cynical workforce, individuals pursuing personal agendas, conflicting agendas across boundaries, and recurring problems are all symptoms of a lack of organisational authenticity. Reducing this gap is vital for a company seeking to be an effective competitor in the business arena.
In highly effective companies there is a commitment to aligning stated beliefs with actual choices.
Of course if the vision/mission statements are just the common hot air, it is hard to get alignment