The Business Coach with Laura Murphy: Do we need a charter?

Q: “It was suggested that we have a company charter but I don’t understand what it is and why we need one.” Pat

A: “Most people know of visioning, mission statements, aims for a company but few would have heard about a charter. In the US they are similar but in this instance you’ve been asked for something different.

A charter goes to the heart of the organisation or company, more so than the vision or mission statement which invariably becomes its outward face/brand. A charter is about the internal branding: expectations of behaviour and practical application of that. It could be simple - keeping the workspace tidy, or ensuring the group laptop remains charged. Or more fundamental such as truly respecting others’ views of the world.

What’s critical is that this is wholly owned and to do that you need to ask all your employees what they expect from the people they work with and for. To have power this should be done together, in groups if you have a large organisation. As you’ve already been asked for this your workforce is up for the challenge. Set the stage for them so they can look at what they want, rather than don’t want. When you’ve collated all of the views, get them to physically sign the document. The power of the pen is enormous and will help later when it needs reinforcing. Finally, use the document as part of your induction programme for new employees. They will find it invaluable in helping them to quickly understand what’s expected of them and become a productive member of the workforce.”

Laura is an organisation development specialist and executive coach with mtc2 ltd.  To solve your problem email Tweet @WayfinderWoman Names and details have been changed to protect confidentiality.