Leadership Role #2: Declaring a Mission
By articulating a vision, a leader opens up certain possible paths to the future while closing others. Using our computer industry example, if software is what will be profitable, then it makes little sense to shift resources into hardware production. Apple also made this mistake, and until the advent of the iPod, the company was relegated to being a small player in a vast market.
Out of a vision, a leader can declare a mission, or in other words, a ‘game.’ His team commits to playing a game that will create the organization’s future. A vision, then, is about the world and the impact we aim to produce, whereas a mission is a declaration of how we intend to position ourselves in this world and the results we are committed to achieving.
In declaring a mission, a leader is requesting that the organization align its actions behind certain strategic roles and objectives. The first requirement for creating a powerful and coherent mission is to ensure these roles and objectives are based on an explicitly stated vision, or interpretation of the world. Lacking this, a mission may degenerate into little more than a cheerleading slogan.
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About the Author
Chris Majer, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of The Human Potential Project, is the author of The Power to Transform: Passion, Power, and Purpose in Daily Life (Rodale), which teaches the strategies corporate, military, and sports leaders have used to positively transform themselves and their organizations in a way readers can adept to their own lives and professions. He may be reached at www.humanpotentialproject.com.
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