Could a Lesser Mission be Hijacking Your Primary Mission?

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Originally posted February 22, 2011

With the NFL season about to get underway, I thought it was an appropriate time to look back on a post where an issue facing the National Football League’s commissioner carried a huge lesson for leaders everywhere.

ROGER GOODELL’S MOMENT: The NFL commissioner is the most powerful man in sports, presiding over the most lucrative league in the world. His job right now is to stop it from all falling apart.

The message on the cover of the recent Sports Illustrated issue contains a powerful reality check for every leader.

What is Goodell’s moment? It’s not connected to his primary mission (building and promoting the game of professional football). It’s connected to a lesser mission (divvying up billions of dollars in league revenues among millionaire owners and millionaire players).

Goodell must pay attention to how league revenues are doled out. That’s just not his primary mission.

In other words, Goodell’s primary mission could be hijacked by a lesser mission.

And this prompts a question that every leader should consider; “Are lesser missions hijacking me from my primary mission?”

There are church leaders who first arrived at their post with a vision to see their church “impact their community for Christ”, but whose defining moment ends up being about replacing the pews with theatre-style seats.

There are church leaders whose vision is to see “every person grow into the image of Christ”, but whose defining moment ends up being adding a Saturday night service.

Lesser missions are neither inappropriate nor unimportant. But they can easily preoccupy a leader and take focus off the primary mission.

How can you tell if your primary mission is being hijacked? Here are a few warning signs I’ve learned from great leaders:

  • Your board meetings and staff meetings are focused on lesser missions.
  • Your personal journal entries are dominated by concerns over lesser missions.
  • The books you’re reading are not connected to your primary mission.

If you think you might be sliding away from your primary mission, for the next month try paying attention to these indicators.

Because if you’re a leader in the local church, your primary mission is of far greater consequence than simply saving the NFL season.

How do you keep focused on your primary mission?

the author

Scott Cochrane

Vice President- International, Global Leadership Network. Love Jesus, Nora, Adam & Robin, Amy, Dave, Willow & Olive and John, Fiona & Will. Lifelong learner.

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