Service Institutions Need a Defined Mission

    We have attained what we were trying to do.
    First, the public-service institution needs a clear definition of its mission. What is it trying to do? Why does it exist? It needs to focus on objectives rather than on programs and projects. Programs and projects are means to an end. They should always be considered as temporary and, in fact, short- lived. Second, the public-service institution needs a realistic statement of goals. It should say, “Our job is to assuage famine,” rather than, “Our job is to eliminate hunger.” It needs something that is genuinely attainable and therefore a commitment  to a realistic goal, so that it can say eventually, “Our job is finished.” Most objectives can and should be phrased in opti- mal rather than in maximal terms. Then it is possible to say, “We have at- tained what we were trying to do.” Third,  failure to achieve objectives should be considered an indication that the objective is wrong or at least de- fined wrongly. If an objective has not been attained after repeated tries, one has to assume that it is the wrong one. Failure to attain objectives is a prima facie reason to question the validity of the objective—the exact opposite of
what most public-service institutions believe.

Previous Article: Innovation in Public-Service Institutions
Next Article: Optimal Market Standing