Is it a Mission or a Job?

I recently read a post by Sandy Styer From Trusted Advisor Associates. It dealt with Apollo 13 and the model of collaboration that the Ground Control crew demonstrated for us. It is a great article and you really should go read it here.

What lept out at me was her Statement, “First, it’s no coincidence that the space missions were called missions. They weren’t projects or details or jobs, but missions. It took over 400,000 people to get a spacecraft launched, and all of them had a clear and common goal.”

I have this conversation often with my colleagues. In fact, Kelly and I were discussing this on a recent Saturday as we were talking about how to engage members in our service organizations. How do we get people to engage and remain engaged in the mission? (I think we can apply these lessons to our companies as well).

I can remember back in 1988, someone in the company came out and did an experiment with our sales team. They locked us in a room, for half days, for a week, while we developed a mission statement for the company. By the time we were done we were excited, revved up and felt like we were important. The next week they said it was just an exercise…This is not the way to build team engagement by the way!

Rather, when new members join (or as we recruit them) we want to examine their congruence with our mission. For example, my Toastmaster club reads the Mission of a Toastmaster Club at the start of every meeting so we keep it at the front of our minds. How many of your team mates can tell you what your organization’s mission is?

Because I am excited about Toastmasters , I am the unofficial sales person at our club. I try to ask each guest:

–   What brings you here? – Fear of speaking, my boss sent me, I want to improve impromptu speaking, etc.
–   What do you know about us? – Speaking Club
–   What would you like to get out of this? – Be able to present in March at the conference, be able to respond better in meetings, etc.

Once we know why they are here, we can demonstrate how our organization can help them to help themselves to achieve their goals. Part of this is to get them involved by giving them a role and asking them to lead.

It also requires that we “Bang The Drum”, often to remind them individually and collectively why we are here, what mission we are out to accomplish and how it takes all of us to reach that mission.

–   Do your teams know the mission?
–   Are you confident they remember the mission?
–   Is it a mission or a job?

Take good care,

PS :The Mission of a Toastmaster Club is…

The mission of a Toastmasters club is to provide a mutually supportive and positive learning environment in which every individual member has the opportunity to develop oral communication and leadership skills, which in turn foster self-confidence and personal growth.

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