Still to this day, the most inspirational moment in my life occurred 50 years ago (when I just seven) on July 20th 1969. I remember returning to school and there was talk of little else. Most of our lessons were dominated by the event and certainly all the breaks in the schoolyard, but what I particularly recall was the head teacher saying in assembly: “just imagine what else will occur in your lives.” My sense is that Mr Stanley envisaged somewhat more than has been achieved in the half a century since, for certain I did.
The upcoming anniversary of the first lunar landing has caused me to wonder to what degree this sense of not yet fulfilling our potential is also true for others? I wonder how many people feel they’ve not achieved everything they want in their career or for their business? If you share this sentiment then I have a challenge for you – one I hope that JFK himself would be pleased to read, as it’s his legacy after all.
Speaking at Rice University in Texas on September 12, 1962, President Kennedy inspired the nation, indeed the world with this speech:
“We choose to go to the Moon! We choose to go to the Moon. We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard; because that goal will serve to organise and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one we intend to win, and the others, too.”
My challenge to you – what’s your Moon Mission? What’s your BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal)? What ambition can you set now to be achieved within 10 years?
I get that business is a series of months/quarters/years but so too politics, perhaps even more so where, to coin a phrase, “a week’s a long time”. JFK didn’t suggest we put life on hold to set off on that incredible adventure, instead he proposed we do it for more important reasons – his speech opened with: “We set sail on this new sea because there is new knowledge to be gained, and new rights to be won, and they must be won and used for the progress of all people.”
I feel that for too many companies and organisations, make that the majority, there’s little more than a profit target to motivate people and to be blunt it’s not inspirational at all. People give their best, their discretionary effort, their thinking time, when they believe in a cause – and that cause needs to be something more, much more than just a financial goal.
Why don’t you use this anniversary of perhaps humankind’s greatest technological and logistical achievement to set a goal for your business that is truly awe inspiring, something that 50 years on will have people proudly reflecting on the part they had to play in its achievement? Why not today ask your team, “what’s our Moon Mission?” and over the next few weeks, as we countdown to the anniversary in July, work to set a goal that will drive your performance as never before.
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