Monday, February 1, 2010

Lessons in management: Mission vs. money

Years ago I consulted with a group of therapists in an agency suffering from severe financial problems. The therapists told me that the administration of the agency told them that there would have to be a lot of changes which would curtain their ability to carry out the agency's mission. When the therapists complained they were told by the administrators "without the money, there is no mission."

I said, "Golly, that turns you all in prostitutes, into whores. You are willing to sell you soul for money. With those values not only will this agency fail, but it probably should fail."

A year later the agency went bankrupt and was closed.

Joseph Campbell, the great mythologist said that people often have to choose between the money and their bliss. His advice was "always follow your bliss."

I ask teenagers, "If you could have a job that paid $50,000.00 a year that you hated or a job that paid $35,000.00 a year that you loved, which job would you choose?" Most, 80%, say the $50,000.00 a year job.

Teens are young. They don't know yet what matters in life, but agency administrators and managers should. They should have the experience, the wisdom, the maturity to know that an agency/organization which sells out its mission for money is doomed. Keeping faith with an agency's mission is protecting its soul, its spirit. Without an authentic, significant mission, and a staff who have faith and commitment to it, an agency/organization not only will fail, but probably should fail.

When you have to choose between the mission and the money, stay true to the mission, otherwise you have sold your organizational soul to the devil for a few bucks.

This is article #4 in a series on Lessons In Management.

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