Term Paper: Leadership a Mission Statement

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Leadership

A mission statement is a "key tool that can be as important to your business plan" (Entrepreneur, 2013). When applied to a human being, some adjustments to the concept need to be made, since the concept reflects business missions. For a person, the mission statement should be a combination of objectives and philosophies that underlie how you want to conduct yourself in your career. I seek to build a career as a leader in my field, my success driven by my expertise and hard work. I envision my future as focused on my family first and foremost, with a nice house, a comfortable and happy life with opportunity for my children. My mission revolves around having career success so that I can provide for my family, and fulfill my own ambitions as a driven person with a high level of intrinsic motivation.

Gifts, Passions and Circumstances

I have several gifts that I feel will propel me throughout my career. I am a big thinker, a dreamer if you will. One of the things I am able to do effectively is start with a grand vision and then determine the different individual steps that lead to that vision. This relates to my ability to identify patterns and understand the linkages that underlie complex systems. Thought I hate to admit it, I have some aptitude for mathematics, but for some reason my abilities with patterns and systems manifests itself more on the creative side. I probably should have gone into architecture, but I find myself more drawn to business architecture -- organizational design and organizational culture. This is what has drawn me to leadership as a focal point for my career, because leaders are the people who develop and execute organizational design.

I have other gifts as well. I tend to be fairly dogged in my pursuits, which is another trait of great leaders. The best leaders have objectives, and they do not quit on those objectives. I look at Shackleton as a pretty good example of this -- never quitting no matter how the odds are. Winners never quit. So for me, that persistence is something that helps me achieve my goals. When there is a clear vision and strong motivation, nothing can stop me. This is something that I want to bottle and give to the people on my team. If I can find a way to instill in my team the same drive that I have, then I am going to be a successful leader, of that I have no doubt.

I have a passion for systems, for linkages. I like understanding how things work. I could have written code or fixed engines for a living, but I was drawn to the challenge of finding order in chaos. Human beings are the ultimate in chaos -- unpredictable is one way of putting it. As a leader, I am fascinated by how I can organize and motivate this most mercurial of resources to deliver superior results. Managing within an organization is something I have a passion for, because it strikes me as one of the hardest things to do. Furthermore, it is job that is always changing, because people are always changing. I am pretty sure that I cannot handle a job that remains the same all the time, so managing in an organization provides me with an opportunity for a role that has the right amount of challenge and fits with my passions.

Circumstances have brought me to this point. I feel good about where I am in my life. My career path is where it should be, and I feel that I can still clearly envision a pathway to my ultimate objectives in life. I have been fortunate to come to school and really put myself in a better position to succeed. So everything to this point is a blessing, and I have really worked hard to get to this point. I can only continue to work hard and hope to see results from that.

Ethical Stance

There are a lot of ways to look at ethics. I think specific to my role as manager, I have to take into consideration what prevailing ethical doctrines exist in the world. I may not be savvy enough to distinguish clearly between virtue ethics and deontological ethics, but I know that these are a based on a clear concept of right and wrong, and that a person should not violate such codes. I am not the sort of person who believes that rules are made to be broken -- I actually prefer working within a rule-based framework and would not violate any sort of Kantian categorical imperative (Johnson, 2008).

I know that there is another school of ethical thought called consequentialism, which bases an evaluation of the goodness of an action on the consequences of the action (Sinnott-Armstrong, 2011). I understand the logic. One on hand it's a "no harm, no foul" approach, but on the other hand demands responsibility even when there is no fault. Ultimately, however, as someone trying to raise a family and manage in a business, I have to take a deontological view. The laws of the land are sacrosanct, whether they make sense or not. I can work within the legal framework to pursue my objectives and those of my company, and in that I will be ethical. I know our society discourages certain behaviors as unethical, but I feel that the law should be the ultimate arbiter of this. As a society, we make the laws we want to live under, so the laws are a reflection of our majority rule and can be trusted as viable guideposts for ethical behavior in American society.

As a business leader, I have to also take into account corporate social responsibility. People talk about this a lot, but there is no real consensus on defining CSR (McWillliams & Siegel, 2001). So as a business leader I am free to define my ethical responsibilities in the business context in my own way. I can take the needs of other stakeholders into account, or I can do as Milton Friedman (1970) suggests and allow government to play that role while I pursue profit. While I respect Friedman's argument that managers play a role as agents of business owners, I must also respect the fact that we as humans are all in this together, so it is unethical to create negative externalities simply to gain a few more dollars for the shareholders. So I can something of a humanist approach to CSR, that I should as a business leader never forget that I am a member of the human family and need to be a good steward for the future generations.

My views on ethics have been longstanding, though at one point I would have been hard-pressed to spell them out. Certainly, having learned about ethics in school I have been able to put words to my ideas but also refine these concepts in my head, to try to make them more internally consistent. I actually do like to challenge myself especially where ethics are concerned, to see if I have a coherent ethical philosophy, and I can see that I am making strides in that regard.

Ethical Challenges

We all face ethical challenges from time to time. One of the reasons I like my ethical philosophy is that I do not need to consider illegal acts as ethical challenges. The decision to do something illegal does not represent an ethical dilemma, it represents an illegal act. This line of business ethics -- the one spawned by the likes of Enron- becomes a lot simpler when you reject the proposition that this is an ethical dilemma. There are genuine ethical dilemmas, and I expect to encounter them in business a lot. I have already mentioned that I believe in reducing externalities, but clearly there are going to be times when this conflicts with the Friedman maxim of maximizing shareholder wealth. Since that maxim comes from my role as an agent of the shareholders, I have to take it seriously, but there are times when I need to weight my decisions carefully against the best interests of the rest of the world.

In general, I view an ethical dilemma as being resolved through deontological means. We know, internally, each of us, what is right and wrong. We understand our society's values. There are a lot of people who do bad things in this world, and most of them are fully able to understand that what they are doing is wrong. When that is the case, and it is for me, I feel that such imperatives make a good ethical guidepost. I know that polluting the environment to save money is unethical. The accountant in me might think that the fines for that pollution are lower than the cost of disposing of the waste properly, but this is where knowing right and wrong comes into play. I am not sure I would… [END OF PREVIEW]

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