In Britain recently they were on a knife’s edge waiting to see if the people of Scotland would decide in favour of independence from the UK. This referendum was critically important for both sides because a “Yes” result would have had major political and economic consequences reverberating across not just Europe, but the world.

However, as I am sure you will know by now, the “No” campaign won by a 10 per cent margin amidst a record turnout of 84 per cent. So the decision was that Scotland is to remain an integral part of the UK. The voters declared that they wanted to be part of a community… an economic, political and cultural family embracing the same core values.

As I write this column, I wonder if it was the words of “community”, “family” and “better together” that made the difference or was it that Scotland was concerned that the idea of an independent country responsible for its own defence and its own currency — outside of both the EU and the UK — would involve too many risks.

Maybe we could now apply the same principles to your business, your department or your company. I wonder if your team members feel a sense of “belonging”, of “family” and of “community” in their jobs. Do they feel passion when they talk about their role, what they do and how and why they do it? Do they have a real feeling of community when they walk into their office or workplace?

Three elements that define community

1 Shared vision

A mission statement is a declaration of a company’s goals for the mid- or long-term future. It can range from just one line to many paragraphs and needs to identify what the company is intent upon achieving. A vision may well start from the top, but it needs to permeate right through the business.

You will probably find that an individual’s actions are consistent with the vision when this is shared with others. However, a vision needs to be shared with passion. We know that people buy into an idea using emotion — ask any salesperson — and the same is true for a mission statement. The company needs to live and breathe the vision that carries its workforce forward. With a single unifying vision statement, everyone in the organisation will be working towards the same unifying goals.

2 Shared values

Core values are those which support the vision, shape the culture and reflect the company ethos. They are the essence of the company’s identity – the principles, beliefs or philosophy of its declared values. Many companies focus mainly on the technical competencies but often forget the underlying structures that make their companies run smoothly — the core values.

Defining these, upholding and subscribing to them on a daily basis establishes both internal and external advantages to the company. They become the essence of that which the company or organisation wishes to achieve and to be known by within the community.

3 Shared purpose

Having purpose is good. However, having a sense of shared purpose is even better. Successful companies are turning to purpose and authenticity as a way of engaging with both employees and customers.

Customers are no longer passive members of an audience but active members of a community. They also want to be part of something greater than just an individual transaction. They want to belong, to influence and to engage. They want your purpose to be theirs as well. The same applies to your staff and employees. They want to share and own the mission and vision of the company.

I wonder how different things would be if we could use the emotion that comes to the surface at times such as a national vote, and package it. There is no doubt the passion, inspiration and motivation that drove the people of Scotland to make the momentous decision that “together is better” has implications for all of us.

Key points

  • Togetherness gives strength.
  • Shared vision and core values.
  • Working together towards common goals.

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Carole Spiers FISMA, FPSA, MIHPE is the Chair of the International Stress Management Association (ISMAUK) and founder of International Stress Awareness Week. She is an acknowledged authority on corporate stress and CEO of the Carole Spiers Group (London ... (Read More)

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