Mission Statements VS. Organizational Commitment - Part II

Now that you have had a chance to ponder the differences between mission statements and organizational commitment, let's take a look at how you can build your department's commitment by taking a look at your future. (By the way, if you didn't read part one, go back to the archives and check it out, it helps part two make sense!)

First of all, what is the end result of all this talk about commitment and organizational definition? Well my friends, it is an amazing orientation in space known as VISION. That's right, it comes back to my favorite replacement word for "progressive" in the fire service. Now here's an application of these principals that will help us build our organizational statements.

The process you should go through starts with creating your organizational commitment, which will then lay the foundation for you department's vision statement. This process may mean redefining goals to conform to the new approach management & labor have taken to meet the changing needs of the department far into the future.

The big question now is what type of tool do you need to collect the raw data for these statements? Our answer lies in a Goals, Mission, and Values Assessment Survey. I created such a survey for Las Vegas Fire & Rescue, we are currently implementing one here at the Marysville Fire District, and the application even extends to some of the community groups I am affiliated with. The tone of the survey should be should be built to evoke a POSITIVE response. This is NOT a job satisfaction survey! You will need positive and honest feedback to create a quality final product. The survey should be confidential and a final report should be published inter-departmentally to share, not only the final results, but also comments in the surveys themselves.

Here are some examples of questions asked in the Marysville Fire District goals, mission, and values assessment survey. Also listed are the benefits they contain for building the framework for your organizations guiding words:

  • List in order of importance (1 being most important and 4 being least important, use each number only once) the services provided by the Marysville fire district.

    1. Code Enforcement
    2. Suppression/EMS
    3. Community Interaction
    4. Special Operations

    As we all know the fire service is a multifaceted profession with many areas of service. Finding out which area/division has the highest priority in the eyes of your employees helps us to understand the dynamics of the organizations we work in. It also provides valuable insight about how your employees view the input of their work on community.

  • Do you care about what the public thinks of the services we provide and how our personnel represent themselves?

    A simple yes or no question that may surprise you. Know how the troops feel about their public image before it comes back to haunt your PR or customer service programs. This question may also shed light on a large-scale problem you didn't know existed in your organization.

The following questions are fill-in the blank or short answer:

  • What are four describing words that best express your feelings about what it means to be a member of the Marysville Fire District?

    In order to create statements that carry meaning for the whole organization you need to find describing words that are echoed by the majority of the membership that clearly and concisely states what it means to be a part of your organization.

  • In a brief paragraph describe what it means to you to be a member of the Marysville Fire District.

    The answers received from this question can be used as a morale builder as well as a good vision-building tool. Part of this whole process involves compiling a report and statistics to reflect and reiterate employee opinions as well as substantiates you organizational statements.

  • List the two most important values that members of the Marysville Fire District should believe and practice.

    Values, a term we are hearing more and more of in today's fire service. We want and expect our employees to epitomize/uphold certain characteristics. However, what a management team values may not be the same thing your department's newest recruit values. This question will help you reach that middle ground of compromise.

  • Are you proud to be a member of the Marysville Fire District? If so, give the single most important reason why you feel that way. If not, please describe.

    What better way to market your organization then through their own words? After all that's what this entire assessment survey is about, expressing the voice of the whole instead of a Turning that voice into meaningful statements that reflect the thoughts, goals, and opinions of the ENTIRE organization will help promote a unified voice that represents the entire department.

So those are the foundations you need to get started down the road of a great vision, in Part I we discovered the difference between Mission Statements and Organizational Commitment. Now it's up to you to decide which one will work best for your department! Good Luck!