Mission Matters in Leadership

September 14, 2011

Effective Policing, Ethics, Leadership

Confusion about Mission creates dissension and allows for mission creep which can be harmful to both leader and organization.  Success is dependent on Mission focus.  That doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t alter our path or actions at some point but it does mean that we do so consciously in a way that is congruent with why we say we exist.  We need not look far to find conflict rooted in the way that leaders have either honored or disregarded their basic Mission.

Mission Conflict

Many of today’s issues are rooted in disagreement surrounding  Mission…

The public discussion of corporations not paying their fair share, taking advantage of the tax code and sending jobs offshore is rooted in an understanding of Mission.  The basic Mission of most corporations is to maximize profit for shareholders. They are ethically bound to put shareholder value first.  When this conflicts with paying taxes or keeping  domestic jobs the Mission takes precedence.  If the corporation states their Mission differently – say they declare that they exist to create domestic jobs and contribute the maximum amount to government coffers then the shareholder has a different expectation when making their investment choice.  Different Missions create different shareholder expectations and different ethical obligations.

The discussion of the role of government centers on Mission.  Whether on the side of large or small government, people base their opinion on what they believe government is charged with accomplishing.  What is the Mission? Until that most basic of fundamentals is resolved it is likely the pitched conflict will continue.

Look at policing (my old profession).  The Mission for most organizations has something to do with protecting and serving.  In practice most agencies translate the Mission into making the maximum number of arrests.  Unfortunately these arrests do not always contribute to protecting and serving or providing quality of life for citizens in the way that agencies would like them to.  In fact, they can be directly contrary because people feel threatened by ‘assertive or zero-tolerance policing’.

What is the Mission?

Leaders ignore Mission at their peril.  Why do you exist?  Are your actions and policies congruent with your stated Mission? Is Mission clear to your followers and used to motivate their behavior? Are the implications of your decisions on Mission part of your regular thought process?  Mission matters to successful leaders.

Please comment on effective ways that you have found to  incorporate Mission into your daily actions.




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