Your mission statement rocks! Hooray! (Hopefully, it’s not as silly as the one I created above using a management-speak generator.) This is the engaging picture of your objective and your Why.
Now comes the necessary but usually neglected hard work:
(1) Define victory
(2) Determine how we will measure progress
(3) Call out the constraints.
Failure to do these three makes your change efforts 100x more difficult than they should be. Your carefully crafted mission statement will feed the cynicism in your organization when they face difficult challenges. Smart leaders tackle these difficult questions to engage the organization.
I use the word ‘victory’ rather than ‘success’ because you want emotional impact in your definition. What needs to happen so you throw a massive celebration party? What will be worth talking about years afterward? How does it look to you and to others? What will your competition say about it, or people whose opinion truly matters? Who will celebrate with you? What will victory sound like and smell like?
Don’t shortchange the work in defining victory.
Determine how will we measure progress
Mushy mission statements lack the means to know if you’re on the right course, and how to assess progress.
Mark Horstman has pointed out that all projects boil down to repeated answers to the question of who does what task by when. Your leadership task is to attach the who/what/when information to the why of the mission statement.
This is excellent work for your trusted team of leaders. You need multiple, well-informed perspectives.
Call out the constraints
Every great work has constraints. There is a limit to the funding, or time. Some actions are unacceptable (even though they might be legal and ethical) – you can’t “go nuclear.” Leaders need to know “this is a ditch, that is a ditch, and here’s the road.”
Don’t be afraid to use the constraints to your advantage. Constraints often fuel creative solutions. “Whom the gods wish to destroy, they give unlimited resources,” as the saying goes.
This is your four-part framework for massive success:
- Strong mission statement – your big why
- Victory defined in practical and emotional terms
- Measurements available so you can monitor progress
- Useful constraints identified for everyone