Think of your organization's mission. What is your goal? What is the heart behind what you do?

Photo by Demorris Giovonni Dodd

In the ’90s, during the civil war in Somalia, the term “mission creep” was first used by reporters in the United States. It is identified, in this example, as entering a country for one purpose and staying even though the original objective has been met. It should be noted that classic examples of “mission creep,” end in failure or feeling overwhelmed by the larger task at hand.

Though the phrase was coined in the 1990s, there is no lack of examples of “mission creep” from any point in time. It is common for leaders to start a mission with a specific objective and purpose, carefully calculated and considered, and then to use that success to creep to a larger, more challenging to define mission (often without even knowing it).

I find the idea of “mission creep” very interesting and an essential part of proper communication with your team as a leader in the humanitarian and non-profit sectors. While people tote the importance of communication, it is equally important to consider how we communicate.

Think of your organization’s mission. What is your goal? What is the heart behind what you do? Before responding to these new crises with an agenda, perhaps consider remembering why you started in the first place. Take some time to remind your team of their why, too. It matters.

As you consider the coming months, consider what your role is in the response. Keep your eyes focused on your mission, whatever it may be. It started for a reason, and it is important to hold tight to it even now.

We are living a new time. The coronavirus has impacted nearly all countries in the world. To act as if this won’t be a part of your communication over the next few months (or even year)—you would not be honest with yourself.

However, I want to encourage you that you can (and should) continue to focus on your mission in the midst of often chaotic communicating.

Perhaps one of the hopeful things to come from this terrible pandemic is that this gives you the opportunity to grab hold of your heart. It gives us all the opportunity of considering what it means to be of service to others, and why we are involved in the work, we do. It allows us to stop flying around the world, or shuffling from the office to the worksite, or going from social enterprise to social enterprise. It gives us the gift of time to be more strategic in how we respond to the world around us and allows us to remain true to our mission. What a challenge! The world needs passionate people with a heart for the world now more than ever.

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