Move the needle: Vision


By CJ McClanahan

On May 25, 1961, before a joint session of Congress, President John F. Kennedy made the following proclamation:

“I believe this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth. No single space project in this period will be more impressive to mankind or more important for the long-range exploration of space; and none will be so difficult or expensive to accomplish.”

This bold statement, created a powerful vision that inspired not only the space program, but an entire nation. During the next eight years, we did whatever it took to accomplish a goal that, at one point in the not-so-distant past, seemed impossible. Because the vision was so clear, powerful and world changing, failure was simply not an option.

If you’re interested in getting maximum productivity and innovation out of your most valuable asset (your team), you need to create a compelling vision. This vision has to be more than a revenue target or number of units sold. It has to be something that triggers an emotional response and leads to inspired behavior.

Getting your team excited about a goal is a critical component to building a competitive advantage in today’s marketplace.

First, remember you need to build this vision upon the foundation of a meaningful purpose. A vision without purpose may get your employees fired up for a day or even a week, but they’ll eventually lose steam and wonder, “Why again am I working so hard?”

Second, ask your team to brainstorm the following question – “What do you want the marketplace (customers, prospects and competitors) to say about our company?” Team members’ answers will provide you with some insight as to what is really important to your people. For example, a law firm’s employees might indicate they want to have a national presence or desire to be recognized as having the most community leaders.

Finally, any vision you lay out for the future of your organization must be measurable and have a time limit. Kennedy didn’t say he wanted to have a better space program sometime in the coming years. He said he wanted a man on the moon within a decade. Similarly, you need to set a specific goal so the team can measure its progress.

As with most things in life, the solution is simple. All you need to do is execute.


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