Mission Impossible (Not!)


“A good plan is like a road map;
it shows the final destination and usually the best way to get there. “

H. Stanely Judd

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Last month we examined establishing a vision; where your organization is headed.  Now let’s look at its mission; how your organization is going to fulfill the vision.  Before the advent of GPS and before AAA was available online you had to use a map for planning a vacation.  Once you had a destination in mind, you had to figure which route to follow to get there.

Decisions had to be made.  Did you take the shortest route, the quickest route or the one with the most picturesque scenery?  Did you stop at Aunt Mabel’s and make a stop at the World’s Largest Ball of Twine (it’s in Darwin, MN if you’re interested…).   Where were the gas stations and the affordable motels to stay at on the way?  In other words, people made plans.  The plans fulfilled their vision of a vacation.  The plans were their mission.  The same holds true for companies that have established a vision.  They need to determine how to accomplish getting there. 

Two or More Heads are Better Than One

No general plans a campaign by themselves.  They have help, usually in the form of a staff.  Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf had a staff of no less than 17 other generals to plan and carry out Desert Storm.  And each of the generals on his staff had a staff of their own as well.  In other words, it takes a lot of folks to plan the mission.

This is where you need to rely on your people to get the job done.  More brain power means better solutions and direction.  It also means buy-in on the part of those contributing to the plan.  Get as many people involved as is practical.  Their feedback will be key…as long as you ask the right questions.

Who Will Lead the Charge?

Be clear that to fulfill the vision the mission is critical.  Make sure everyone understands you are looking to create a plan to succeed.  If they see problems, they should not just point them out but offer solutions.  Objectivity is essential.  Egos need to be checked at the door and, as their leader, includes yours as well. 

The next crucial decision is who will take the lead as the mission plan is finalized and carried out?  Based on the planning and commitment you have done up until this point you should begin to have an idea which of your managers are on board and confident in the success of the mission.  You may also begin to understand that some, even though they may not be totally confident, can accomplish more than they realize. 

Leaders need to be comfortable with giving up the reins.  Leadership requires the ability to allow others to lead as well.  It means supporting them while still retaining responsibility for their outcomes.  That requires making good choices in who you choose and knowing when to allow them to have a measure of control.  Whom do you choose to lead the charge?  This is where you begin to face the challenge of preparing for success and succession.

Next month:   Delegating Responsibly

Here to serve,

John Duba

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