Walls are walls! Not necessarily.

Some walls can be removed without jeopardizing the integrity of a structure. For example, a wall may be removed to make a small area seem larger. But before home improvement contractors will remove a wall, they will first determine if the wall is a “load-bearing wall.” If it is, it stays.

Every organization has “load-bearing walls” that provide its basic support—principles that give integrity to the organizational house. Their purpose is not to keep people in or out, it is to keep them (and the organization) safe, and to make sure the house is structurally sound.

There are at least 4 load-bearing walls that your organization MUST HAVE.

1. Mission

The wall of Mission is the organization’s declared direction of its ideas and resources. Born in your mind, or that of another founder, the mission is the basic premise, the unique reason for the organization’s existence among other organizations. Everything that is done under the roof of your brand begins and continues its day from that location.

2. Vision & Values

The Vision & Values wall is your written or unwritten policy of beliefs and practices. A mission may be written in the by-laws or displayed in the lobby of your headquarters, but if it isn’t on display by the actions of the organization’s members, it’s just words.

3. Strategic Objectives

The Strategic Objective wall is your milestone wall, marking your progress and planning your future. It is like the yardstick marks on a wall or doorway of a house that measures the growth of children in that household (and often compares it to the growth of other children). In the case of an organization, the growth marks may be envisioned as well as actual, but the purpose is the same—motivating or recording scheduled organizational progress.

4. Service

The wall of Service is your personal or corporate commitment to excellence. It reflects policies or procedures you have created for your organization that are intended to build brand loyalty. It’s the organization’s attitude and actions that purposefully recognize the worth of customers and constituencies.

“Load-bearing walls” don’t just appear like an object from a magic act, they are created and blueprinted. And you are the contractor/leader. Shoddy building will make them weak from the start. Careful planning will make them sturdy enough to withstand the winds of change and the storms of time.

–Stan Toler