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Moonshot: How can CEOs leverage vision and mission to inspire teams?

Executive leaders are often perplexed (read: shocked and frustrated) when senior managers fail to understand vision and mission.

It’s a big problem because both are our starting point for strategy and implementation.

Increasingly, executives feel concerned and soon exhausted trying “heard cats” towards a common end state. We think everyone “gets it”, yet continue to see hints that they don’t.

This lack of understanding prevents alignment across departments. It prevents us from leveraging our financial resources and prioritizing our time against the activities that matters most.

When left unresolved, people get irritated, frazzled, and burned-out. The confusion results in unrealized strategic objectives and negatively impacts retention.

When executive leaders enable deep understanding of the vision and mission, then everyone feels more prepared, secure, calm, energized and fulfilled regarding the work we take on and the manner in which we do it.

In turn, operations are aligned, quarterly goals are more easily achieved and strategic objectives are realized — which is a much better position to be in when leading the C-suite and briefing the Board!

As a kick-start, reinforce the following best practices:

➡ 1. Understand the difference:

The organization’s “Vision” is your aspirational (ideal future) view of who you are and how you positively impact the greater good. It is your "Why" or purpose for being in business.

Your “Mission” (should you decide to accept it) is your present-day value proposition to your customer. It is what you deliver and how you deliver value beyond cost.

➡ 2. Communicate the difference

An executive leader is not repetitive, s/he is consistent and persistent. Embrace every verbal and written communication as an opportunity to inform your audience and reinforce this critical message.

➡ 3. Incorporate the difference

To gain and sustain superior alignment as a competitive advantage, employ your vision and mission as a cornerstone to all other aspects of the organization design and operation. It should be the kick-off for business intelligence, strategy & planning, organizational design, policy & procedures, operations, performance metrics, and all leadership redirecting and reinforcing activities.

While there is no magic solution, these proactive steps are a proven great place to start.


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