In my research into the origins of organizational purpose one thing impressed me about those leaders in the social service sector.
When asked to define the purpose of their organization they could rattle it off in a flash. For example, one educator told me it was to improve the ability of children to learn; another in health care told me it was to improve levels of access and quality; and another from the military told me it was to bring all his troops home safely.
Each of these knew their purpose, and there is a reason. Each was living in a culture where vision, mission, and values were crystal clear. And so when thinking about the purpose of an organization is good to take a moment to define it – not as an exercise in thinking, but as a means of discovering it so that it can be put to good use.
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