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Do You Remember the Mission?
by Tom Goodman
December 30, 2010

Peggy Noonan says that people will look back at the first decade of the twenty-first century and say of America, "They forgot the mission."  As partners in leadership at Hillcrest, let's make sure that's never said of us.

In her end-of-year article for the Wall Street Journal a year ago, she looked back across the first 10 years of the new century and wrote:

We have been through a hard 10 years.  They were not, as some have argued, the worst ever, or even the worst of the past century.  The '30s started with the Great Depression, featured the rise of Hitler and Stalin, and ended with World War II.  That's a bad decade for you.  In the '60s we saw our leaders assassinated, our great cities hit by riots, a war tear our country apart.

But the '00s were hard, she observed, and most worrisome to her was the loss of mission among so many important American institutions.

She reviews the federal government, Wall Street, her Catholic Church, public schools, and journalism, and she concludes:

Name the institution and you will probably see a diminished sense of mission, or one that has disappeared or is disappearing....  And as all these institutions forgot their mission, they entered the empire of spin.  They turned more and more attention, resources and effort to the public perception of their institution, and not to the reality of it.  Everyone gave their efforts to how things seemed and not how they were.

She calls on the nation to "repair, rebuild, and return."  And she asks some questions that should send you into some soul searching as we prepare to move into the second decade of the twenty-first century:

If you work in a great institution:  Do you remember the mission?  Do you remember why you went to work there, what you meant to do, what the institution meant to you when you viewed it from the outside, years ago, and hoped to become part of it?

I'm so blessed to have you as a partner in leadership at Hillcrest!  May Noonan's reflections and her final questions generate some New Year's resolutions worth keeping!


David Murray called my attention to Noonan’s article on one of his weblog posts.

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