Every organization needs not only a mission statement and a business plan — and yes, even non-profits need a “business plan” because if you cannot state clearly why your organization exists . . . why does it exist? Further, the more vague or general an organization’s mission statement (e.g., “The Much Ado About Nothing Society works to promote interest in William Topaz McGonagall (1825-1902), the greatest poet who ever lived or ever will live, and to jabber on endlessly without knowing anything about him.”*) the more chance there is that the organization will eventually lose its way. It may continue, but more and more people will simply ask Why?
In addition, all organizations need not merely a clear and definitive mission statement and a business plan, but a set of core values and a code of ethics. Without these, members and friends of the organization will simply use or even hijack the organization to promote their own agendas, whether or not they have anything to do with the stated purpose of the organization because they can get away with it, and they do get away with it because those in charge, without a clear mission statement or core values will “go along to get along,” and will bend over backwards just to keep the organization together even while those inside of it are tearing it apart.
That is why in today’s Just Third Way Podcast, your host Dave Hamill takes ten minutes or so to go over CESJ’s Core Values and Code of Ethics. If you’ve ever wondered why CESJ or people involved in the Just Third Way don’t agree with so many of the “isms” floating around these days, it’s because of the focus on personalism that is at the heart of respect for the dignity of each human person, and we think that is embodied in the Core Values and Code of Ethics:
The last stanza of William McGonagall’s greatest and most immortal poem, “The Tay Bridge Disaster” (1880):
Oh! Ill-fated bridge of the silv'ry Tay,
I now must conclude my lay
By telling the world fearlessly without the least dismay,
That your central girders would not have given way,
At least many sensible men do say,
Had they been supported on each side with buttresses
At least many sensible men confesses,
For the stronger we our houses do build,
The less chance we have of being killed.