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Blog Posts

8
Nov
Purpose, Vision, Values and all that Jazz
Part two of our Business Growth Blog Series

Back in the last century (literally), I formed my very first organisation within Pfizer. I was appointed to lead something which we later called HERMES, with the objective of creating single enterprise-wide systems for clinical development, specifically adverse event management, trial management, patient data management and a host of associated systems. Whilst I was setting that up, I decided we needed a Mission statement. I found on the then embryonic world wide web, a set of sites, of which the “Dilbert mission statement generator” (I kid you not – it is no longer on-line I am afraid).  In general, these had a set of pre-written vision templates you could browse to choose one that most represented your general style, and then had a series of drop-down menus for critical adjectives and nouns that you might use in describing your vision – phrases like “the world’s largest” or “top 10” or - for the least courageous - “top tier”.  You made your choices and it would print out your statement in a special certificate format to stick on your wall. The Dilbert site was, of course, a joke, but several of the others were completely serious! As an aside, I also found one that prints out example references you can create for staff who are moving to other jobs – that one was very aware it was a joke!

However prone this area is to jaundiced management jargon, there is no doubt in my mind that these elements are really and truly useful – and the value is as much in the journey of discussing it all than the final product. So, MRN has the following strategy statements:

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Purpose:

MRN's purpose is complex.  Financially, we aim to be a high growth, profitable and sustainable company, so we set goals for revenue, profit, cash etc., which we agree every year.  Beyond these goals, the organisation is expected to be a long-lived independent company, managed for the long-term.

The organisation has a second purpose - that of providing a pleasant and productive place of work for employees, to provide a decent wage and to fulfil its social contract by providing profit and paying taxes.

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Vision:

MRN aims to create services to provide a platform for mainstream implementation of community based clinical trials which are designed to speed up clinical research, making trials more efficient and thus bringing drugs to the market quicker for the benefit of our customers and patients.

MRN provides the highest quality service available in the marketplace, designed to ensure the highest success rate for our visits across the largest number of countries and patients, ensuring the maximum possible overall impact of our services on the trial for the customer.

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Values:

We encourage the personal values of Teamwork, Engagement and Creativity.

Teamwork

At MRN, we all work together towards our common goals – in projects with customers and in internal projects. We each have roles to play in teams, but we don’t say “that’s not my job”. We overlap in roles, but we don’t fight for turf.  We have a common purpose, which is the corporate vision – to introduce all the services required to run more trial activity in the community.

Engagement

We don’t treat our work as ‘just a job’. We enjoy the challenge and results our work brings, we enjoy the environment in which we work, and we feel empowered and have a sense of responsibility to our customer and to our colleagues. We feel valued, get feedback and have the tools we need to do the job required.

Creativity

We thrive on innovation – in our services, our processes and in our customer relationships. We look to improve, to innovate, to try new ideas and to become more efficient and more effective – benefiting the customer, the company and our employees. We are an innovation based business continuously looking to push the boundaries of how clinical trials are conducted and how our services work day to day.  Within our day to day activities, creativity in problem solving plays a key role in delivering our Projects successfully.

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So why is this important?

It provides focus – at some point as you grow it is noticeably harder to get the people who work within the organisation to commit to what you are trying to achieve. For the original founders, this is the easiest – but even their history is littered with examples where founders fall out and split up due to fundamental differences in opinion. These tools help smooth that all out.

It explains why things happen – decisions we make and the routes we take. For most people in the organisation, the link to day to day decisions that the leadership take is often infrequent and can be tenuous – these sorts of statements give a simple way of communicating underlying principles to larger numbers of people. Equally, it allows everyone to make decisions of their own with a fighting chance they are going to be consistent with everyone else’s. 

 

In case you missed it, you can read part one of this series here: From 4 to 140.

Posted by:
Toby Heath
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