Serving in any organization requires that one understand the vision and mission of the entity and communicate these ideas clearly. Such mission focus is critically important for Christ-centered organizations.
“Where there is no vision, the people perish.”
The dramatic times we have seen in the past two years have been problematic for individuals and organizations alike. Despite our seemingly chaotic contemporary times, God’s Word, as found in Proverbs 29:18 and in numerous other Scriptures, remains an appropriate guide: “Where there is no vision, the people perish.”
I hope that the following ideas will provide helpful insights to enhance your leadership success by maintaining mission focus and regularly communicating the mission.
Keep first things first. Mission is paramount.
Successful leadership requires a focus on the big picture and a keen understanding of specific goals and objectives. Organizational mission establishes the purpose for why an entity exists and describes what it intends to accomplish. The mission sets the standard to be implemented through a strategic plan, and the goals, measures and accountability steps that follow.
Remember the two constants of life: change and God’s love.
I am fond of the above saying, which helps keep everything in perspective. Leaders who have a bigger view of life beyond organizational challenges seem better equipped to deal with the complexities of life. Certainly, change is all around us. Disruption has become particularly visible in recent times. Even in challenging times, we need to reflect on the reality that God is bigger than the temporal world. We need to help those we lead remember that God reigns and he continues to be our source, even when times are less than the best. “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, to day, and forever.” (Heb. 13:8)
Be mission focused, yet agile enough to adjust to change.
Trends come and go, but mission focus and communicating the mission are critical to personal and organizational success. While the Lord and his Word are constant, change is ever-present in the temporal world. Successful leaders need to have a mission focus, but they and the entities and individuals they oversee also need to be nimble. Recognizing and supporting the mission is central, but people and organizations must also be agile enough to adjust to change so they are effective amid shifting conditions. The mission may, and likely will, need revision from time to time based on regular review and contemplation.
Planning is also important: create strategic plans and set goals.
A proper plan should include specific and clearly communicated goals…
The mission sets the stage. A well-conceived, realistic strategic plan provides the roadmap to advance the mission intentionally. A proper plan should include specific and clearly communicated goals to support the larger strategies identified, an intentional timeline for desired actions, and accountability measures to ensure implementation of the desired initiatives.
Review the mission and strategic plan to maintain mission faithfulness.
A major aspect of mission focus and faithfulness is regularly reviewing and revising the strategic plan. This planning roadmap helps direct the organization’s path in maintaining, communicating, and ultimately advancing the mission. A regular review of the mission and the accompanying strategic plan sets the stage for advancing an organization deliberately and evaluating seemingly ever changing environmental conditions. Reflection on mission and planning are essential for ongoing leadership and organizational success. Ensuring employees are aware of the mission and strategies to support it are key aspects of success as well.
Communicate clearly to employees and external constituents.
A dual communication strategy is helpful in keeping employees, partners and potential customers informed. Employees need to be aware of and engaged in organizational mission and planning efforts. Keeping them apprised helps promote staff buy-in and support. Constituents and customers also need to receive regular communication to ensure their continued interest and awareness. Informing the broader public helps everyone stay attuned to the organization’s mission and vision for the future. A sound communication strategy keeps constituent groups informed and closely connected to the organization’s purposes and plans.
As people of faith, we need to lead in shining the light on God’s kingdom and our respective roles in his plans as we operate successful organizations and support kingdom work. We must maintain our focus on mission and assist those we lead and serve to see the big picture of God’s grace and love for all of us. We should thoughtfully adapt our work to meet the needs of customers and broader communities. With God’s help, prayerful discernment, thoughtful communication, and intentional effort, we can effectively advance our organizations’ missions.
Dr. Jeffrey Pittman is an Associate Professor in Regent University’s School of Education. He directs the Higher Education Leadership and Management doctoral program. Jeff has been employed at Regent for 36 years in numerous roles, including vice president for student services, assistant vice president for administrative and auxiliary services, and associate dean for academics and administration in the School of Divinity among others. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.