Executive Leadership: Crafting Mission-Driven Opportunities

When hiring a leader, it’s essential to do more than just outline a list of responsibilities and qualifications. To attract the right talent and set them up for success, you need to provide them with a clear purpose, specific missions, and measurable milestones that align with the company’s goals. In this blog post, we’ll explore the importance of defining role purpose, missions, and milestones when creating leadership opportunities, drawing inspiration from proven frameworks and expert insights.

The Power of Purpose, and Missions

My friend Bill Dolan, author of “7DRM: The 7 Disciplines of Relationship Marketing,” often uses the following example for marketing plans to illustrate the concept of purpose, and missions. While Bill’s example is rooted in marketing, I believe these principles are equally applicable when understanding the missions associated with an executive opportunity.

The U.S. Constitution: A Model of Clarity

The U.S. Constitution serves as an excellent example of how to articulate purpose, and missions effectively.

  • Purpose: To form a more perfect union.
  • Missions:
    • Establish justice
    • Insure domestic tranquility
    • Provide for the common defense
    • Promote the general welfare
    • Secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity

Translating to an Executive Opportunity: CEO Example

Let’s consider how this framework can be applied to an opportunity description for a CEO position.

  • Purpose: To improve shareholder value. (At the core of a CEO’s responsibility is the mandate to enhance shareholder value).
  • Missions:
    • Ensure compliance, protection, and security of the company’s assets, both digital and physical.
    • Improve EBITDA by 5%.
    • Foster a culture of trust within the organization.
    • Improve Net Promoter Score by 20%.
    • Secure the future success of the company.

The Importance of Defined Milestones

I refer to Lou Adler, as the “Godfather of Defined Milestones,” emphasizes the significance of specifying what candidates will be measured against. Surprisingly, almost all opportunities fail to include clear milestones, leaving candidates uncertain about what success looks like.

  • Milestones: Complete a comprehensive third-party security review and develop a three-year roadmap during the first six months.
  • Etc.: Additional milestones tailored to the specific needs and goals of the company Missions.

Crafting Opportunity Descriptions: More Than Just a Job Description

When reviewing most job descriptions, one might wonder how a candidate can determine whether they feel confident in achieving the objectives outlined or lack thereof. Certain objectives will attract specific candidates, while others may deter them. This is precisely what an opportunity should accomplish.
Instead of using the term “job description,” I advocate for using “opportunity” when crafting executive-level descriptions. After all, executives think in terms of opportunities—chances to make a significant impact, drive change, and contribute to the success and growth of an organization.

Conclusion

Crafting mission-driven leadership opportunities is about more than just outlining roles and responsibilities. It’s about providing potential leaders with a clear purpose, specific missions, and measurable milestones that align with the company’s objectives and values. Drawing inspiration from proven frameworks, such as the U.S. Constitution, and leveraging insights from experts like Bill Dolan and Lou Adler, organizations can create compelling opportunity descriptions that attract the right talent and set them up for success.


By focusing on purpose-driven leadership and clearly defining missions and milestones, companies can build a limited yet highly qualified pool of candidates who are not only capable of achieving the objectives but are also excited about the opportunity to make a meaningful impact. So, the next time you’re hiring a leader, remember to think in terms of opportunities, not just job descriptions, and provide candidates with a clear roadmap to success.

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