What’s a Mission Statement?
I frequently speak about the Golden Rule as God’s Mission Statement. Why? Well, primarily, humans function as a super-organism. We are ill prepared to function for any extended period of time on our own. Our survival depends on relationships. We have, as a species, been learning to succeed in ever larger groups. However, we will always organize into one. In that concept of super-organism it would highly beneficial if we had a stated goal for our fundamental purpose. A mission statement!
Let’s take a look at the concept of mission statement as taught to businesses and management leaders across industrialized nations. Normally a mission statement is defined as a short, simple, but succinct summary of the aims or purpose of the organization defining it. The mission statement is made by the organization’s leaders to define the desires and intent of that organization. We are therefore defining the scope of its operations. The mission statement gives the organization the opportunity to define its goals, ethics, culture, norms and standards for the decision making process that follows it.
Organizations should define their goals in at least three dimensions: what is does for the organization; what it does for its owners and what it does for its employees—all of its stakeholders. Another way to put it is that the organization desires to clearly state what they intend to achieve both internally and externally. I think my claim doesn’t reach to far fulfilling this aspect of a mission statement. The Golden Rule is a single sentence, simple statement that clearly states the “scope of operations” for the participants within the organization of the human community.
Purpose of a Mission Statement
The purpose of the mission statement is to focus and direct the organization itself. It communicates primarily to the people who make up the organization giving them a shared understanding of the organization’s intended direction. Most often the mission statement is developed to represent the goals and purpose of the organization through the entirety of its existence. It is developed, ideally, to change very little through the life of the business as it represents the core cultural goals, mores and standards of the entity.
The Golden Rule certainly meets the “purpose” aspect of mission statements. Although it can be rendered in many different ways the Rule in its base form has been a powerful standard since at least 500BCE. We find it in all cultures, languages and religions through time. It clearly focuses on the direction that the human community ought to be taking.
Standards of Reason
It is probably a good time to reintroduce the Standards of Reason. They are the four tests that reside within the Supporting Principle of Justice. I identified them as always testing for patterns that are Neutral, Universal, Consistent, and Transparent. The four standards work perfectly within the principle Justice because this supporting principle weighs our decision making processes. This testing resolves many issues when we are faced with various dilemmas. The Standards of Reason contained within the Supporting Principle Justice act as guide to correct decision making in daily living. We can check the our mission statement to start off with against these Standards.
Is the Golden Rule Universal?
Yes, it applies equally to each person. We are not creating classes of individuals with greater or lesser access to life’s challenges and rewards. I expect a result, I should not fault you for expecting the same result.
Is the Golden Rule Neutral?
Yes, as a blanket statement “love one another” it stays clear of identifying groups by sex, age, color, religion, culture and so on.
Is it Consistent?
Yes, The Rule has been in circulation with the rise of writing as a tool for civilization. There are many formulations but the ideal is the same through time.
Is it Transparent?
Yes, It is not confusing or ambiguous. It is a simple, clear statement that occurs throughout literature since writing became an important communication tool.
God’s Mission Statement: Purpose
We have checked the Golden Rule against the Standards of Reason and found it to pass that set of tests, does it work as well for a mission statement? When we approach the Golden Rule (pick a formulation: “Do to your neighbors as you would that they do you.” for instance) and check it with the defined developmental standards set out above we see a perfect example of a mission statement.
It defines God’s purpose. Let’s see how that works exactly. We function very much like a super-organism. Within this organization we should treat the other members the exact same way we would like to be treated -or- not treat others in the organization in a way we would dislike for ourselves. A simple little rule that will adapt to the entire super-organization. What happens when we have a disruptor an individual taking advantage, abusing the cohesion of the group. Through history a thing called ostracism was created a way to “vote” out the disruptor. We eliminate the “cancer cell” from the organism.
Our purpose then is to adapt a cooperative attitude that supports the congruent functioning of the entire group. The closer to 100% the individuals operate the more productive the entire group. A rising tide raises all boats… And the thing is we, as individuals, can operate at a rate very near 100% because it is our best course of action. That route brings the most harmony to our individual lives. It keeps us tuned to Laws of Attraction and Abundance. Not connecting within the group brings disharmony to self and disrupts or impedes personal growth.
God’s Mission Statement: Direction
Once we understand purpose we can figure out the direction this unique organization (super-organism) is heading. When we are working together a majority within the group experience higher levels of harmony and certain levels of abundance. The Law of Attraction kicks in and generally there is higher levels of happiness and success. I tell a story in my book about Ranger students making a rubber raft trip down a river. Trees overhanging the river often have poisonous snakes resting in the limbs over the water. The Ranger students know how to avoid the banks and overhanging trees, but in my story there is no cooperation or leadership and they keep finding themselves in the trees and finally end up with a snake in the boat! All of that could have been avoided by simply following the Golden Rule and cracking down on the lazy disruptors.
But, the further down the river the more tired they became and one by one they all began to give up. With each successive member joining the under-performers the boat finally becomes overwhelmed by the forces of the river and into the trees they go. The only resolution is for all of the members to work equally—each working as they would expect the others to work. No one works, into the trees they go, snake takes charge of boat and Ranger students swim or drown, either way they have lost all sense of community.
Incidentally, the amazing part of the “snake in the boat” story was that after we got the snake out and students back in the boat they managed, somehow, from that moment to the end of the trip, to stay out of the trees. They were all highly motivated to stay out of the trees! The trip calmed down, and all the students worked some, but equally, and actually got some rest and relaxation. The trip became much more pleasant. Therefore, the moral of our story is: no one works, we create a state of chaos; when everyone works some (equally) we attain harmony… This is our purpose. The way to accomplish that purpose is stated clearly in God’s Mission Statement: The Golden Rule.
This is the way of life, right? When we all work in Golden Rule fashion with goal to enhance self, we manage to enhance our neighbors’ lives as well. “One for all, all for one…” The three musketeers’ motto—a Golden Rule principle.