Shareholder value is the ultimate yardstick in capitalism, no doubt. But what happens when a company's value creation mechanism is directly aligned with a mission that resonates and that is rooted with a greater social aspiration?
Johnny Cash was no saint. Neither are most high school students. Few of us grow up to be criminals or folk heroes. Most of us are somewhere in between. We don't need to upend our lives for our causes, but we can nudge ourselves in the direction of righteousness.
When you think of a great leader who comes to your mind? Richard Branson, Arianna Huffington, Tony Hsieh, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Nelson Mandela, or Martin Luther King, Jr.? What are some of the characteristics that we are able to witness from these wonderful leadership role models?
Here's the funny thing about being in business for yourself -- if you're not comfortable with visibility it can be really hard to put yourself and your business out there in a way that attracts new clients.
Ultimately, it is up to us to create our own happiness. Nobody else can shoulder that responsibility or take the blame for our discontent. Why should we waste another minute living up to someone else's expectations or ignoring our authentic path and vision?
In my work with companies -- from small businesses to large corporations -- I have found that the ethics and values reflected in mission statements can be beneficial in conveying clarity and purpose within a company culture.
Without a clear picture of the art and other programs that will be mounted in the future, the organization cannot achieve its mission, cannot build an audience or donor base and, frankly, is of little value. Arts organizations, after all, exist to produce art.
The unemployed must stop believing that they don't have a job. They do. And that job is to get a job. It's a full time, high pressure, high-stakes venture. And as the CEO of that venture, each job seeker must ask a simple yet daunting question: Would you hire you?
Without a clear vision for the future, executive directors are doomed to making marginal changes that do not truly move their organizations forward. And without a bit of dreaming, it is difficult to create this vision.
Immediately flashing back to the beaming faces of my parents at my Bar Mitzvah and the beaming face of my patron drag queen (Tammy Faye WhyNot!) when I came out of the closet, I was reasonably convinced my colleague was citing someone else's solid Jesuit pedigree.
I'm constantly seeking ways to help business owners and corporate leaders free themselves of certain day-to-day duties so they can grow their companies. Hence, delegation and having great teamwork are crucial.
When corporate executives become leaders of arts organizations, they must truly appreciate this difference in mission or they will come into severe conflict with their artists, staff and board members.