One trigger for my thoughts was a blog post by Randy Conley from October 19, 2014, entitled Do You Have the Constitution to Lead? He recommends that we each have a leadership philosophy and that we codify our philosophy in a personal mission statement.
I scoffed at this post when I first read it. I’ve never been big on personal mission statements. Nor corporate mission statements. In my opinion, the value of these documents is not in the words on the paper but in the thought and discussion behind them. And too often, the thought gets left behind after the words are written.
In another post, Conley agrees with my first reaction:
I used to think this [crafting a mission statement] was a bunch of warm, fuzzy, namby-pamby leadership nonsense. Until I wrote one. It helped me take the jumbled mess of thoughts, values, and ideals that I knew in my gut were my personal mission, and express them succinctly and coherently.
But even though I’ve belittled the notion of personal mission statements, like Conley, I crafted one a number of years ago. Mine was (and is):
“To do right, to do good, and in so doing, to do well.”
But what does this have to do with leadership?
If I truly believe my mission statement, then I must do right and do good BEFORE I worry about doing well. That means that as I lead—whether in paid employment, in volunteer organizations, in family, or in any other endeavor—I must first seek to do the right thing and also seek to do good for those around me and for the greater community. Only then should I worry about the impact of my actions on myself.
Sounds a lot like servant leadership.
Conley’s post goes on to recommend that you identify your core talents and values and define them in terms that others can understand. And that you communicate your values to your followers.
Most importantly, of course, is that you live your mission statement, whether you consider it a personal mission statement, a leadership constitution, or simply a philosophy of life. The words we use are far less important than our actions.
For more good posts on leadership, see
As we enter a new year, a year that will bring many challenges and tribulations, I resolve to do right and to do good in all aspects of my life.
What is your leadership resolution for 2015?