“This is no ordinary bank. This bank does not grow money. It grows missions.” She looked straight into his eyes.
“Missions?” he looked back in disbelief.
“Yes, missions.” She said softly, but firmly.
“What does a mission bank do?” his tone was unsure.
“It invests in the missions that sustain the community.” her soft but confident reply made him sit up.
“You, mean missions as in organizational missions?” he was yet unsure.
“Yes. The same kind.” she responded.
“You mean, it earns interest on money they lend to organizations?” he asked.
“No, I mean earning returns on missions. When the missions it invests in succeed, the Mission Bank accomplishes its mission.” She continued in her soft, almost hypnotic voice.
“What? How is that even possible?” he was still unconvinced.
“Do you know what missions are?” she was ready to explain.
“Yes, yes. Of course. To provide the best user experience, or build brands that inspire passion and loyalty, or enable businesses to thrive and economies to prosper, helping people fulfil their hopes and dreams and realize, or to create more smiles with every sip and every bite, their ambitions, or help our clients make distinctive, lasting, and substantial improvements in their performance, or to create positive memories, etc….” he was describing the missions of several Fortune 50 companies that he had studied for his MBA.
“No! These are ambitions, not missions. They are slogans for the current powers to fulfil their ambitions.” She said firmly.
“Why do you say they are not missions?” he was willing to understand what she had to say after hearing her sot yet firm tone.
“Missions state what need you serve for your audience. If you don’t know your audience, you won’t know their need.” her hands waved as she explained.
“Can you give me an example?” he inquired.
“I’ll give you a few. A hospital mission could be to provide assurance to the afflicted. An NGO may provide voice to the voiceless. A democratic government may enable people to influence decisions affecting their lives. A court of justice might restore the dignity of the dishonored. Legislators may make it their mission to leave no person unrepresented. A community kitchen could provide purpose and food to the hungry. A farm may provide purpose and shelter to the homeless. A school could provide purpose to the lost. A newspaper could serve to deaddict the addicted.” Her examples were startlingly simple, he could not help glancing at her in admiration.
“So, what is the mission of the mission bank?” he wanted to learn more.
“The mission of the mission bank is to invest in the missions that make the community sustainable.” She expressed clearly emphasizing the community. She wanted to highlight the audience whose need was being addressed.
“It will not invest in missions that make the community unsustainable?” he said aloud as he wondered.
“Precisely. That means the Mission Bank focuses on building sustainable communities, not increasing its lending. If the community remains sustainable, the mission of the Mission Bank is accomplished.” Her explanation raised his curiosity.
“What are missions that make the community sustainable? You mean investing in the green economy?” he was familiar with the idea of investing in solar power and recycling projects popularly sold as the green economy.
“No. I mean missions that ensure the community is sustainable.” He heard her say and wondered how cool that is.
He responded “Wow, what missions are those?”
“To feed every household in the community, to maintain shelter for every household in the community, to protect the health of the community, to provide meaning to the community in the community.” She looked straight into his eyes again.
He could not help his admiration at the brilliant set of missions she had just narrated.
“Wow,” he said excitedly, “wouldn’t this automatically steer the community to a sustainable path? Wouldn’t this ensure that the everyone in the community is looked after? Wouldn’t this provide everyone in the community an opportunity for a meaningful life?”
She smiled at his excitement.
“The Mission Bank will be an excellent alternative to the exploitative system created by the money banks looking for return on investment! The money banks don’t care about sustainability of the community, they care about the return on investment.” He continued “This would also free us from our short termism. For once we may focus on the lifetime of a child in the community instead of the return on investment this quarter.” He felt happy at the thought that this could really happen!
I wonder why they did not invent it before, he wondered. “This is indeed no ordinary bank.” He repeated looking straight back at her “It is the Mission Bank. The bank that banks on missions that create sustainable communities.”.
#All views expressed in this column are those of the author and/or individuals that may be quoted and Pune365 does not necessarily subscribe to the same.
He can be reached @AnupamSaraph