Now that you’ve decided to use Unitonomy to help your team work together better, it’s time to put our tools to work for your team! The Our Pillars and the Our Alignment apps are at the heart of working better together.
The Our Pillars app provides a method to foster conversation around “Why are we doing what we do?” and “How do we go about doing what we do?” and articulate your mission, vision, and values. The foundation of any work culture is a shared understanding of the answers to these questions and the ability to expand on them. It’s one thing to generally agree on purpose but it’s another to agree on the exact articulation.
An approach we recommend to begin using Our Pillars starts with a core, small team (ideally 3 or 4 people). You’ll want the CEO involved. Gather this initial group and a set a timer on the meeting for 45 minutes -- conversations like this need a deadline. The goal for this meeting is to simply draft some core tenants that everyone knows will evolve in time.
Start the meeting by teeing up the idea that what’s contained in Our Pillars will be one of the first things every new employee will be shown. How will you articulate your Pillars to someone not intimately familiar with your company, like a new employee? Not only does articulating pillars like your mission, values, and vision provide a chance to synchronize the existing team, it’s a chance to proactively sync with future hires as well.
The first pillar to articulate is the mission. Maybe you’ve already run this exercise and can quickly update your existing mission. If not, this is a chance to capture “Why are we doing what we do?” in a way that will drive alignment inside your organization. Don’t overthink it: when this organization was initially created, what value was it meant to provide to its customers or users? You’re not writing a dissertation here--try to define the mission in one statement (and avoid using lots of commas to tack on more than one mission!).
The trick to a great mission statement is to be specific (avoiding jargon) and inspiring, all in the same, succinct sentence. The goal for this first pass is to simply draft the mission statement, not carve it in stone forever. From here, using Unitonomy, your team can start a conversation from inside each Pillar (and sub-Pillar card) to debate how to rearticulate something like the mission overtime. Often a mission statement will change as the mission shifts over the course of most organizations’ lifetimes. So put down the stone chisel and mallet and record your mission in Unitonomy instead, where it can live and breathe and evolve with your organization.
After the mission is set (for the time being), jump to your organization’s vision. In one sentence, apply the organization’s mission to a future state where the mission has made a full impact -- what does that look like? Explaining your vision is a chance for everyone on the team (and future members of the team) to get a sense from the CEO about the central goal driving the mission.
Once you set the draft of your organization’s vision, the next step is to set values. Values define “How do we go about doing what we do?” and are every bit as important as mission and vision because these will set the tone for your culture (which is especially meaningful to new hires). Your organization’s values, once lived and practiced, are what become your work culture’s brand and will largely influence recruits and even customers to embrace your organization. One way to think about your culture’s brand: it’s what people say about your organization when you’re not in the room.
Values are best defined through behavior -- and Unitonomy encourages capturing behavior by adding stories from your organization inside each Sub-Pillar of your values. By adding these stories into Unitonomy, your organization will have a drumbeat of walking the talk and that drives major influence in time. And a note to the CEO: your behavior will define (or undermine) the values more than anything written in Unitonomy.
There’s no limit on the number of values an organization can have. But note that if you have too many, the organization risks having a bunch of forgettable values. Aim to define 6 to 10 values in Unitonomy. For the purpose of your initial meeting, brainstorm as many as you can. Then with 10 minutes left in your 45 minute session, cut out all but the core values that are absolutely essential for a new employee to understand. One trick to eliminating non-essential values is to group them into themes and see which ones can be combined or are redundant.
Here’s a list of questions to ask to help your team start articulating your values:
- How do we want to respect and treat each other?
- How do we recognize effort and success?
- How do we understand our customers and serve them?
- How do we want to grow and learn?
- What is important in how we collaborate and communicate?
- What are the adjectives we want other people to use to describe our work culture?
- What commitments do we make to each other and to our customers?
- How do we value diversity and difference in opinion?
- How do we hold each other to our standards?
- What ethics do we hold dear?
RecruitingSocial has a nice guide on defining values if you’re looking for a deeper process.
Unitonomy’s Our Pillars is a dynamic tool to help your team work together better. You can attach files to each card -- take a picture of the whiteboard from your initial meeting where you listed values and attach it! And each card is exportable so you can hang a (visually attractive) mission statement in your office or drop it into a powerpoint with ease. Most importantly, each card has a place to capture conversation specific to the card so your whole organization can provide their feedback or input. Remember: your internal discussion of your Pillars is a living, breathing conversation and should reflect the pulse, the heartbeat that drives your organization.
Are you ready to add a new pillar to define your organization? Great!
Pillars can always be edited later and creating one will likely prompt a healthy conversation about the articulation (and each pillars offers the ability to comment inside and even attach files).
To create a new pillar, visit the Our Pillars application in your navigation panel.
- Select the button "+ Create pillar" in the top right of the interface.
- Provide the title and description of the new pillar. Select "Create".
That's it! Your colleagues with notifications enabled will be alerted anytime a pillar is added or edited.
Otherwise, you can grab the link to the pillar by opening the pillar card (select the 3 vertical dots icon in the top right of any Unitonomy card). When the card link is copied to your clipboard, you can paste this elsewhere so that your colleagues can access the card in one click.