Mission-Based Decision-Making for Boards

Original content published in the April 2012 issue of Trustee magazine, Vol. 65, No. 4. © 2012 by Health Forum Inc. All rights reserved. Permission granted for digital use only

By John Brozovich and Mary K. Totten

A reason for being. An organization’s purpose or identity. An expression of what an organization believes it must be to best meet the needs of its stakeholders. These are descriptions of what we commonly think of as “mission.” Members of a health care organization’s board are responsible for governing in ways that help fulfill their organization’s mission. But what does that really mean? How does a hospital’s mission relate to effective governance?

In her book The Path, Laurie Beth Jones says that a mission statement is a “written-down reason for being ... a template of purpose that can be used to initiate, evaluate, and refine all of one’s activities.” This concept of mission means that a good mission statement is more than a description of intent. It is a tool that boards and leaders should use to drive, monitor and evaluate organizational programs and activities.

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