Mission Congruent Leadership

August 31, 2011

Current Issues, Leadership

Quality Leaders ALWAYS Consider Mission

Too many leaders lose sight of the importance of Mission in their decision making and day to day operations.  Mission should provide all members of the organization with the answer to the question of ” Why?” the organization exists and “What?” they should be working to accomplish.  Mission is not something to be placed on an ornate wall plaque and forgotten.  It needs to be part of the decision making process and every action taken by the organization needs to be compared to Mission to ensure that it is congruent with the why and what of the organization.

The best leaders role model this decision making process, demonstrating to their followers that they actively consider Mission before taking any action.  When Mission and action conflict, problems arise for an organization.  A great example of organizations failing to consider Mission before taking action is in the headlines today with the resignation or removal of the Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and the US Attorney for Arizona.  These leaders were responsible for a weapon trafficking investigation that resulted in weapons flowing onto the streets of Mexico and the US.  These weapons were used in violent crimes in both countries and at least one was used to kill US Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.

This led me to wonder what the Mission/Value Statements of the leaders in question were?  From  their respective websites:

ATF Mission

We are ATF.
A unique law enforcement agency in the United States Department of Justice that protects our communities from violent criminals, criminal organizations, the illegal use and trafficking of firearms, the illegal use and storage of explosives, acts of arson and bombings, acts of terrorism, and the illegal diversion of alcohol and tobacco products.
We partner with communities, industries, law enforcement, and public safety agencies to safeguard the public we serve through information sharing, training, research, and use of technology.

ATF Values

We value our people and those we serve.
We value professionalism, integrity, diversity, commitment, innovation, and excellence.
We value partnerships that promote the safety of our communities.

Mission Statement

The mission of the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Arizona is to:

  • Represent the United States effectively in Criminal and Civil Cases
  • Advocate for the rights of victims and support witnesses throughout the criminal justice process
  • Coordinate the law enforcement efforts of federal, tribal, state and local agencies
  • Provide the best possible working environment for USAO employees
  • Enhance and strengthen the communities we serve

It leads one to wonder how things might have turned out differently for these leaders, their organizations, and the ‘customers’ they were sworn to serve,  if they had considered Mission when deciding their actions? 

Please comment on effective  ways you have found to tie Mission to decision-making.
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