The present love affair with corporate mission statements must be more than a framed eight-by-twelve well-wordsmithed paragraph hung on a wall.
It’s one thing to have a clear focus…and another thing to actually do it.
I walked into a fast-food chain restaurant years ago that was a hot mess; bad leadership breeds bad service, bad attitudes, and bad atmosphere. Next to the cash register where you placed your order was a framed mission statement, something about “friendly service,” “quality food,” “fun,” and so on.
But behind the cash register was a smirking teenager who wanted to be anywhere else on the planet but there. And I don’t blame him: the bathroom hadn’t been cleaned in months. The laminated tables were sticky. The windowsills were graveyards for flies. I’m pretty sure one of the two glass entrance doors had never been unlatched since opening day. The mission statement wasn’t worth the plastic frame it was screwed to the wall in.
What good is a mission statement that’s never referenced? At what point will the manager have a wake-up call for missional integrity?
Wrestling with missional integrity will force even deeper work. For instance, at the church I pastored in Cincinnati, we knew that the only way to exponentially accomplish our defined mission was ultimately by building outward-focused, servant-oriented disciples. But we even had to redefine for our people what a disciple was… otherwise, they would put their own language on it and it may not have reflected our DNA.
And so over and over we would remind our people that a disciple was “a surrendered and transformed person who loves God and others.” But that forced us to get fiercely honest: were we actually creating that?
We must be honest as it relates to what we say our mission is. And guaranteed, your mission and vision is what will keep your heart pumping as a leader and will be the primary catalyst for how people respond to you.
Dave Workman | The Elemental Group Adapted from “Elemental Leaders: Four Essentials Every Leader Needs...and Every Church Must Have”.
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