At CSR, we have learned over time how essential the execution of a strategic planning session is to kick off our client engagements.  I have my discussion points almost in autopilot as I review how the mission/vision/values aspect of the session can then function as the GPS or guiderails to the business.  Many companies come into the session confidently explaining that “We’ve already done work on that and won’t need to spend time on it.” I’ve learned to not outwardly wince when I hear this.

It could be the very name mission/vision/values conjures up the image of being in a conference room with The Bobs or Toby. But nothing could be further from the truth.

Frequently, we hear something along the lines of, “Our values are integrity, hard work, and honesty.”

Think about that: why not add “Breathing and maintaining a pulse” to that list?

The point is that values are part of your uniqueness; they should serve as an additional filter to ensure that you screen out the jerks that you know will poison the well.  They should include those attributes that you have learned over time are essential to making it in your company (“Perspective” or “Healthy sense of humor under stress”) versus aspects that are obvious and MUST be taken for granted for any employee even to get their turn up to bat.

An Atlanta native, Alex graduated from Georgia Tech with a Bachelor's degree in Management and received a Master's degree in Information Systems from George Washington University. After a 15-year career in manufacturing, health information management, and financial services, Alex broadened his experience even more by working in diverse industries ranging from multiple professional service verticals (e.g., law, medical, engineering, etc.) to the non-profit sector. He was instrumental in the turn-around of a public company which subsequently sold for $300MM. Alex's root's run deep through the Atlanta community he serves. He is a mentor in the Georgia Tech Mentor Jackets program, President Emeritus of the Georgia Tech Intown Alumni Network, and an event sponsor for the George Washington University Alumni Association Atlanta Club. He currently serves on the boards of Pinecrest Academy and Lifecycle Building Center, a nonprofit community resource whose mission is to make the lifecycle use of the built environment increasingly efficient and sustainable.