Staying Focused on the Mission in the Chaos

Written by Corinne Hancock on April 15, 2019

In business and in life, we’re put to the test not when things are going right, but when they get chaotic. How we react can be the difference between success and failure, and determine whether our organization comes together or completely falls apart. The most successful associations can lead their teams and members through challenges and empower them to thrive in the chaos.

I spent my career as an international aid and development worker, working in some of the most chaotic environments around the globe. I developed a chaos framework to help organizations thrive in chaos.


It is one of the most foundational components of the framework. The one thing you can do right now is to evaluate how prepared your association is for chaos, because when it happens, it happens fast. Chaos is inevitable and there would be little to no time to adjust if you and your organization aren’t ready when it hits.


I’m not talking about your mission statement. I’m asking if everyone is clear on what you are trying to accomplish for your members. They also need to be clear on each of their roles for achieving that. They need to know what part they play to thrive under pressure. The challenges, expected and unexpected, are going to keep coming no matter what. If everyone is clear on what they’re trying to accomplish, it would be easier to get back on track when the chaos hits.

Chaos may be inevitable, but if everyone knows what they should be doing at this moment to accomplish goals, they won’t just survive—they’ll thrive.