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Why You Should Aim for the Stars 1

Why You Should Aim for the Stars

Today is a historic day.  For 1/2 the country it is historic in the wrong way but regardless of how the election turned out today was going to be historic. We would either have our first woman President or, as it turned out, the first President that has never held office nor served in the military.

Irrespective of who won, both candidates were going to face the same problem, uniting a country divided.  As of the writing of this blog Google has the popular vote a virtual tie between the candidates with Hillary having a 161,761 edge over the President Elect in votes cast, a 0.13% difference of the total votes.

Divided Companies Lack Business Leadership

This mirrors a common problem I see in businesses, except the divide is usually between management and employees.  The secret behind bridging the divide within a company is providing a vision and a goal that is big, or as Donald Trump might say “Huge, enormous, gigantic”.  Homo sapiens evolved as social animals and we work best when we work together to achieve our goals.  When faced with a challenge we rise to the occasion, band together and get things done.  Charismatic business leaders like Lee Iacocca, CEO of Chrsyler in the 1980’s understood the value of large goals.  In Jim Collins and Jerry Porras seminal book, Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies (1994) they ascribe having a Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG) as one of the major reasons for a company’s sustained success.

The first step in closing the divide between management and employees is having such a goal, then you must communicate your goal and finally, stay focused on your desired result.

Leadership Requires a Big Vision

Early this morning, Donald Trump laid out his goal.  He said, in part “…Every single American will have the opportunity to realize his or her fullest potential. The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer…We are going to fix our inner cities and rebuild our highways, bridges, tunnels, airports, schools, hospitals. We’re going to rebuild our infrastructure, which will become, by the way, second to none. And we will put millions of our people to work as we rebuild it…We must reclaim our country’s destiny and dream big and bold and daring. We have to do that. We’re going to dream of things for our country and beautiful things and successful things once again…”

Are these goals big enough, who knows?  What I do know is that if you don’t set big goals you won’t achieve anything.  Grant Pitzer, a pilot in my last squadron and first business partner once said “Aim for the stars and hit the moon. Aim for the moon and hit a cloud.  Aim for a cloud and hit the barn.  Aim for nothing and hit it every time.”

Aim high!

One comment

  • Scott Starost says:

    I agree that leaders need to communicate big aspirations and goals. Leaders do not always have to be the sole creator of these BHAG’s however. Leaders can collaborate with their teams to find that Big Goal that unifies their company.

    I personally believe that these Big Goals need to be exciting, have a fun aspect to them and provide fulfillment to as many people working towards meeting that goal as possible. As with all goals, there are times when it is challenging, overwhelming and the unexpected occurs. If you incorporate excitement, fun and group fulfillment when creating your BHAGs, working through the less glamorous parts becomes so much easier.

    Thanks for the insight Dave! I really like your final quote. I need to work that into conversation with my kids.

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