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When will Your Mission become Mutiny?

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Look Boss: It is Written

One of my favorite bosses, when privately presented with a wallet-sized card imprinted with the corporate mission and asked what he thought of it, pretended to use it to wipe his derriere.

Was my boss in open rebellion?

Not in the least.

My boss was responding to a ridiculous communication tool. At that point in the history of that particular medical device company, it was all mission and everyone knew it. Patients and physicians were front and center and no one needed reminding. We were all directly involved in the mission and to think otherwise was to dismiss the conscious and vocal choices people made to work there.

Then again, perhaps the communication tool was a bit prophetic. It wouldn’t be long before many in the firm started taking their eyes off the mission to focus instead on quarterly profit goals to the exclusion of patients, physicians and common sense. These things happen when big bonuses are at stake.

But it need not be that way and you may well be the one to say so.

Unless you simply wanted a job and any job would do, you likely joined your firm because of mission. You found yourself in some level of agreement with the firm’s vision and wanted to help move this thing forward. For many of us, the mission is a motivating and ennobling force, even if we may not think of it constantly.

We know that even the best-intentioned organizations stray from their intended goals and go rogue with evil intent. This happens at high and public levels. It also happens at day-to-day levels, in quick decisions and in small furtive meetings among colleagues. For-profit companies do it. Non-profits do it. Churches do it. Hobby clubs are also capable of it.

That’s when any of us needs to come back to the mission and openly ask whether this quick decision or that furtive meeting is accomplishing our shared mission. Sometimes our best and smartest move is to reprise the mission openly, verbally and with gusto. We all need reminding of our purpose and mission from time to time.

If you care about your organization’s mission, you may need to lead a mutiny today. You’ll want to count the cost, of course, because mutiny can be very expensive.

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Written by kirkistan

February 24, 2014 at 8:32 am

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