Podcast Episode 38.3

Family Business Series: Creating & Using Your Mission, Vision and Values

With Guest:
  • Mark Deterding of Triune Leadership Services, CEO

Jamie asks guest and leadership expert, Mark Deterding, how to build a foundation of your mission, vision, and values? Mark, owner of Triune Leadership, recommends you start by understanding what the shared values are amongst members of your organization, and then asking yourself: what do you do, for whom do you do it, and why? From there, it’s time to build it into the culture of your organization to know what drives your business. 

Episode 38.3 | 8 min

Guest Bio

Mark Deterding is the founder and principal of Triune Leadership Services. His goal with Triune is to build up servant leaders and transform organizational cultures.

After working in executive positions in nationally known corporations for 35 years, he understands that servant leadership is the only way to lead people and teams to fulfill their God-given potential. As a trusted expert in servant leadership, he has successfully navigated industry-leading companies through culture change — not only as an organizational leader but also as a coach and consultant. Through his “boots on the ground” experiences and training, he brings an effective blend of actionable processes, proven tools, and expertise to guide executives and emerging leaders onto a path of servant leadership; a path that leads to success and significance.


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How misunderstood what we do is.

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I would encourage people to open their minds and listen to this dialogue.

Jamie Duininck:

Hi, welcome back to The Water Table Podcast. Today we are visiting with Mark Deterding from Triune Leadership Services. You had mentioned earlier the first step in servant leadership is foundation. And to me a foundation, and we can dialogue about this if you disagree, but really is, in a business, is the mission, vision, values part of your business. So how does somebody go about that, that doesn’t have a mission statement or doesn’t have stated values? How would you encourage them to just get started on that? Because that can be much more intimidating than it needs to be for people.

Mark Deterding:

No, for sure. And I help people do this all the time and see it. It’s heavy lifting work. It’s not just a layup for sure, where you just show up and throw a few things together and you’re off and running. There’s no doubt. But what I always encourage is starting with individual personal values with people. So if I’m working with the senior leadership team or if you’re a business owner and you’ve got your senior leadership team, what I would do is bring in the folks that are really at the level that they’re helping you run the business, if you will, and talk to each of them about what their personal values are. Have them talk about what’s core. What’s important to them.

I actually have them draw a picture first and just say, think of this as a poster of what’s really, really important to you and in picture format, just depict that. What’s really important in your life and then have them share that with each other and all of a sudden they start to see some consistencies with the group of what really is important to the leadership team, the leaders of the organization.

Well, from there, then you can bridge from that into what’s really, really important to the business. First off, let’s start with our purpose when we go to a business. Why do we exist as an organization? I kind of answer three questions, what we do, for whom we do it, and then, most importantly, why. And the why part, the why answer to the question, is what’s compelling. What brings people racing into work each day? You might have an equipment manufacturer that says our purpose or our mission, and I view those two terms as the interchangeable, our mission is to enrich people’s lives by basically producing integrated packaging equipment that is the best in the world. Just throwing something out there. Well, when you look at that, you say, okay, they’re making packaging equipment, they’re making equipment or whatever, they’re making it to enhance their clients’ world, but why do they really exist?

They use that as a platform. They exist to enrich people’s lives and that’s their employee’s lives, their clients’ lives, their community’s lives and all that stuff. So everything that they do, they bounce off of that. Will this enrich lives along the way in what we’re doing? That’s just an example. But once you get that purpose, then you say, okay, we’ve got our mission or purpose. Now what are the values that we need in place to support that mission? If we’re going to accomplish this, what are our values, what is going to be core to us? And that’s where you can really bridge then on the personal side of all the people in the room. But I always ask the question first is for each person individually, take a look at the purpose that we’ve just developed and say, so what are the three or four or five values that we need that will be necessary for us to accomplish this?

It kind of defines our culture. And everybody puts those values on a sheet of paper. And then we go around the room and we list all of them. You end up with about 20 to 30 values on the wall, right? And then I ask them to do this. Okay, now that you see everybody’s input into this, now I want each of you to pick your top five from the one you’re most passionate about down to the one you fifth most passionate about. And then we’re going to give that a weighting from the most passionate down to the fifth. And we go through that exercise and what ends up coming out is next thing you know, they’ve got four or five that have surfaced from that exercise that you start to say, you know what? That is it. And then from there, Jamie, once they do decide on what those key values are, what’s really important is defining what that means to the organization.

And then just equally and probably even more important than that is what are the behaviors that are going to show up for a team member that illustrates how they’re playing out that value? Once you’ve got that, it makes leading so much easier. You talk about that foundation. It’s not my opinion versus yours. Here’s our foundation of these are our values, these are our behaviors that we say we’re going to do. I always use Chick-fil-A for this, right? So Chick-fil-A, they have a value of valuing customers, right? Well, one of their behaviors behind that is I will say it’s my pleasure to serve you every time we provide them food. They say, thank you and say, it’s my pleasure to serve you. That’s a non-negotiable thing. You know, if you don’t say that you don’t get to be on the team at Chick-fil-A.

And that’s why you can go into any Chick-fil-A throughout the entire nation and guaranteed, I will guarantee you that you will hear that from an associate that it’s my pleasure to serve you. It’s because it’s a behavior that they’ve aligned with or they’ve defined for one of their guides. So very, very powerful from that standpoint. Again, back to the original point, there’s no substitute for the time you put into it. It’s heavy lifting. But once you’ve got that work done and you then live those values, you live that purpose every day, you talk about it in every meeting that you’re in, all of a sudden, the next thing you know, you have a culture like Chick-fil-A where when you walk into Chick-fil-A, you know you’re not in McDonald’s or Wendy’s or whatever. Nothing is [inaudible 00:07:09] but it’s different because of the culture they’ve built at Chick-fil-A and how you’ve made them feel. And that’s what you want in any organization is you want people to know, okay, this is where I’m at. And I’m really glad I’m here because of how I’m made to feel.

Jamie Duininck:

Well, thanks for joining us today, Mark, on The Water Table podcast. If our listeners would like to hear the full conversation with Mark, you can find that at watertable.ag/business.