Mission Driven

by Michelle Lasley

Michelle Lasley is a mother, wife in Pacific Northwest learning to balance green dreams with budget realities.

May 8, 2012


Categories: One a Day, Post a Day 2012

More than twenty. I’ve been ballsier about admitting this lately. More than twenty jobs. Most of which were held in my twenties. Twenty for twenty.

I used to think it was me. I owned the responsibility for having this many jobs. I owned the lack of synergy, or getting along, or poor money management. But, the reality is, I had little control over many of those things.

I am learning about myself — more — and one reason for moving to so many jobs is simply my desire to know more. I love to learn. And, as a learner, I get bored — easily. I have also learned that of anything I need to own, it’s my need for belief. That is, I need to believe in the organizations where I spend my time. I suspected this in my twenties, but it was difficult for me to narrow my interests as … I was still learning about myself. (Not that that learning is over! It’s just getting clearer and more focused!)

Recently, someone stated the obvious. “Boy!” she exclaimed, “You’ve worked for a lot of dysfunctional organizations!”

Yes! I have! One organization lost $8 million in their reserve, BEFORE I was even hired on! How could I own that? That’s not a responsible way to go about life. I can’t own EVERYONE’s mistakes. That’s a huge disservice to me.

Yes, these organizations were dysfunctional. They lacked vision, leadership, and couldn’t organize around a central theme because the leaders couldn’t focus the employees. It has to be more than “We want the organization to succeed.” Organizations can succeed in many ways. They can serve their clients and constituents. They can make a lot of money. Or, they can do a lot of things. I am starting to wonder, though, if success and focus should be more defined by mission focus. I am starting to wonder if a clear mission focus is enough to centralize teams past dysfunction.

If a team’s dysfunction starts with distrust, and if distrust can be defined by misunderstood intent, then maybe a mission focus can appease intent and help build trust. If absence of mission focus gives ego more space, which often gives suggestions and priorities and advice that is not equal to compelling information but more in line with career advancement, then maybe mission focus is a way to re-engerize a team passed self-interest.

Teams, I am learning, stay in tact because they have community. We can’t get around it. We have to constantly be building community. We have to care about those we spend 40 hours a week if we want to continue spending 40 hours a week there.

I’m not sure where that puts me right now. But, it certainly gives me thoughts for organizations I have a controlling interest. It gives me confidence for the choices we’ve made and how we move forward.

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