Have you ever worked for companies with Mission Statements or written your own? You don’t have to raise your hands but, how many of you have found them filled with wonderfully sounding ideas that were rarely practiced? In many of the companies that I served as a business consultant, the mission statement had become the symbol of the hypocrisy in the organization.
The heart of mission statements is respect. Most mission statements include this most essential element for a nurturing and peaceful environment. Unfortunately, our yearning to live in a safe and supportive sanctuary becomes dashed by the reality that when push comes to shove “Power Over” is used to get things done or to get one’s way. Disrespectful behavior then results in eroding the second essential element for peace, trust. (Click Respectful and Disrespectful Behaviors for a more detailed comparison.)
The paradigm shift that keeps disrespectful behavior from creeping into the everyday life of a community and that can result in trust and peace becoming a reality is to make respect as important as accomplishing tasks and goals.
Respect then cannot mean, “I listen to what all parties have to say and then do it my way.” A heart connection insures that all parties will be heard empathically and all parties are open to learning about their part in any difficulties.
When people feel heard they become cooperative partners rather than adversaries. Even when they don’t get their way they are most likely to understand each other well enough that creative compromise, collaboration and innovation emerge where it didn’t seem possible before. Being treated respectfully builds trust.
This is certainly not going to be true all the time and in all cases. But, before you dismiss this idea as impractical look over the Trust or Distrust chart. The consequences of heart-disconnected responses are inescapable. Consider the famous Albert Einstein quote, “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” It applies to the business as usual Power Over model whether in one’s home or workplace.
A heart-connected approach does not depend on everyone participating in the same way. It is unconditional. When I gave up thinking that I could change the world, I realized that if I was to have a positive effect, the only place I could start was with myself and in the communities in which I interact. Moving from the deeply entrenched Power Over thinking has taken me completely out of my comfort zone. Although learning new ways has definitely improved every relationship in my life, it’s a work in progress.
Where has your journey to develop and live congruently with your mission statement taken you? What are the resources that have been most helpful and unhelpful?