11. Mission-Driven Organizations: Special Challenges

Some organizations are intensely mission-driven. They “know why” they exist. It is usually to fulfill a mission of discovery (adventure and learning), altruism (putting customers or employees first), or heroism (changing entire industries or how we live), to use three of the categories developed by Nikos Mourkogiannis.1 Those associating themselves with such organizations often have strong, clearly articulated reasons for doing so. They feel intensely about their association. Wendy Kopp, founder and CEO of Teach for America, in response to a question about how her organization creates a sense of mission, replied, “Maybe this is easier in our endeavor than some, in the sense that we’re looking ...

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