Marry the Mission

Photo Credit: Some Guy Photo

I was once told by a good friend and mentor to ensure that whenever I build an organization that I stay flexible where I need to stay flexible and that I’m firm where I need to be firm.

The obvious follow-up question(s) I had were two-fold:

  • What are the elements of an organization that need to be flexible/firm?
  • How does one determine whether they are categorized rightly?

He went one step further and emblazoned in my brain this saying that helped me, to a degree, codify his point:

Marry the mission, but date the model.

Well-put old man (he wasn’t that old by the way).

In essence he was challenging me to really be steadfast and true to the core mission of the organization, the why we exist type of things. The epic-sized vision that I had for the organization, the mountain that I and my team were trying to climb.

Where I needed to stay flexible was how I approached those big challenges and how we went about solving them. The models of execution, in other words. We are and should forever be flexible with how we would achieve our great mission.

One example of recent here @ The Iron Yard is the fact that we’ve already pivoted our roles within the leadership. As we’ve grown we’ve had to stay incredibly flexible with what we believed we would be doing strategically and tactically and what reality was really demanding of us.

Consequently my role as a chief strategist has now shifted with a greater emphasis on our existing human capital and team dynamics. If you were to have told me this shift a few months ago I would have probably looked at you funny. This is just one example of many where we’ve all had to shift with the growing weight of a scaling organization.

But the mission is still the same and we are still executing against it better than ever. My role as one of those executioners and my angle of attack has just changed (i.e. the model). I’m flexible there because it just makes sense for this season of growth and I’m personally delighted by the new challenge.

In the end I feel that I’m honoring what I know should be and is true: Our mission is sacred (just as I perceive the marriage to my wife to be) but the way in which I participate in that dynamic can change (like when I became a father… and then did it again!).

Have you isolated what is “datable” and what is “marriage” material as it relates to your organization, your position, and your role & responsibilities? What’s missing?

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About theironyard

The Iron Yard exists to create exceptional growth and mentorship for people, their companies and their ideas through code education and startup accelerators.