Arts Organizations: Reverse Engineering a Mission is Like Hiring a CEO Based on the Ability to Fit in the Chair

chair.jpg

You may be asking yourself, “Why are there so many 137 Words posts about ‘mission?’  We put on [plays/operas/concerts/exhibitions/ballets] and THAT’S our mission.  Art is enough.  Case closed.”

Ignorance and arrogance – back together again.

Is art enough?  Enough for what?  Enough of what?  Is there a societal need for art?  Assuming there is, is there a societal need for your art?

Here’s the deal:  a nonprofit has no human owner.  Not the CEO, ED, MD, AD, Curator, President, or even the Board of Directors.  An identified societal need is at the center of the nonprofit’s identity.  The mission – the compelling combination of values, purpose, goals, and vision whose sole commitment is to fill that societal need – is the owner.  An unrelenting, benevolent boss who defines productivity as eliminating that which is unnecessary to the completion of the mission.

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