7 ways we (try to) stay on mission as a team


This year, 1MISSION is celebrating ten years as an organization. We’ve experienced a lot of changes over the years – expanding to new countries, launching new initiatives, and increasing the scale of our work – but we have always tried to keep our core mission, our reason to exist, at the center of all we do.

As our team has grown, we have tried to reinforce our mission by finding creative ways to stay on track in our work. We don’t do this perfectly, but we’re always learning how to do it better.

Here are seven ways we stay on mission as a team.

1. We take our work very seriously, but we don’t take ourselves too seriously.
As a community development organization committed to partnering with families in the fight against poverty, no one needs to remind us of the importance and seriousness of our work. But to be sure we keep things in perspective, it’s important to be able to put our ego aside and laugh at ourselves from time to time. Our mission is a big deal; our egos shouldn’t be.

2. Organizational culture and team chemistry are vital.
Professional competency can be taught, but culture and chemistry can’t. That principle has been especially important to us when hiring new people. We don’t do drama around here. But we have fun and we work our butts off because we are all passionate about what we are doing. This isn’t “just a job” for any of us!

3. A win for one of us is a win for all of us.
Any time one of us meets a goal or overcomes a challenge in our work, it’s something worth celebrating as a team because of what it means for the mission: more families in homes.

4. We value getting to know each other.
Since chemistry and culture are so big for us, we try to take time to really get to know our fellow team members. We have team lunches and all-day staff activities once or twice a year. Believe it or not, we actually enjoy hanging out! At each monthly staff meeting, a different person shares their story. It’s pretty informal, but definitely not surfacy – we love learning where you grew up, what your family is like, and which experiences have made you the way you are.

5. We value each other’s families.
Valuing team members is important, but we take it a step further. Heck, most of our spouses are honorary team members because of all the work they do for 1MISSION! With that in mind, we always try to make the health of our families a priority. And that’s physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health. We have instituted what we call “health and wellness” days so employees can go on their kid’s field trip, or their spouse’s doctor’s appointment, or whatever else is needed at certain times.

6. Lax ≠ lazy.
From the outside, it may seem like we have a lax team culture. And in many ways that’s true. But the basis for being lax is that we fully trust each other to get our stuff done! No one questions anyone else’s work ethic or passion, so we don’t need interference from the productivity police.

7. Remember the one thing that unites us.
Working in our Phoenix office, hundreds or even thousands of miles from our field projects in Mexico, El Salvador, and Nicaragua, it’s natural to sometimes get bogged down in administrative work and lose focus on the impact. One way we counteract this tendency is to take time in each staff meeting to learn about our featured families and we pray for them. We do our annual staff retreat in Puerto Peñasco, where our US team can connect with our Mexico staff while also spending time with families in the communities where we serve. And we’re finding ways for employees and staff to periodically visit the field in Mexico, El Salvador, and Nicaragua. It’s in those moments that we’re reminded why we do what we do, each and every day – giving people in poverty the opportunity to earn a house by serving their community.

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  1. 1MISSION Blog

    […] keeps our team moving in the right direction while having fun doing it. Last summer, she shared seven creative ways we try to stay on mission as a team. In this Q&A, Katie tells us about what first drew her to […]

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