Monday, May 29, 2017

Vision Statements are Important Too

I really enjoyed reading the article, "Building Your Company's Vision".  I worked at a six-year old manufacturing plant for two years and while I think Sabra Dipping Company (my previous employer) excelled in some areas, after reading this article it became apparent they were lacking in most areas.  While I was aware what our five values were (Trust, Openness, Passion, Daring, and Caring), I never fully understood what our vision was.  I feel like by not having an actual black and white vision, it made people feel as if what they were doing everyday was not purposeful.  Obviously, our main goal was to get hummus out the door, but why?  Why was it important for us to make sure we were able to push a healthy and safe product out the door?

In April of 2015, Sabra Dipping Co. experienced one of the worst events a manufacturing company can experience:  a recall.  When this occurred, management made it clear that no one was going to lose their jobs and because the recall was voluntary and no customer experienced sickness or death, it would be easier for customers to trust us again.  The voluntary recall was the best time to come up with a vision statement, but this was a wasted opportunity.  Employees still faced the problem that they were facing before, lack of purpose in the workplace. 

When you look at companies like 3M, Hewlett-Packard, and Sony, they all have two things in common:  they have been around for many years and most everyone knows of these companies.  Like the article describes, this is because of their lasting visions.  The article also talks about how many things within companies might change, but with a strong core ideology, everything within a company can remain strong.  After experiencing life on the other side of this, I can say I fully agree.  Sabra’s management and rules were always changing.  This was eternally ongoing because of how new the company was and how inconsistent it could be.  Rather than stressing themselves out, employees would leave the company to work for a more established company.  In the first half of 2016, we lost 36 employees who had been with the company since it opened.  This was a huge blow for Sabra, but could have been rehabilitated by establishing core ideologies and eventually, a vision statement.

My favorite part of this article was reading about the Big, Hairy, Audacious Goals (BHAGs).  I worked in Human Resources during my time at Sabra.  There was nothing that went on in the plant that I was not aware of, but after reading this article, I realized I never knew what Sabra’s BHAG’s were.  The ongoing goal was to get more hummus out the door than the previous shift, but that goal does not show that management cares about the people.  Also, when this goal was met, there was no celebration for it and no praise was given to the employees.  How about a goal of reducing retention?  Or even a goal of getting to know everyone employee who works on your shift?  It is easy to say what your values are, but if the values are not practiced, then there is no point in having them.  Without values, we do not have a vision statement and then we get into the problem of employees not knowing what their purpose is.  This article taught me the importance of core values and ideologies and vision statements.  With the combination and practice of these, perhaps the cycle at Sabra Dipping Company will be broken.

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