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On May 25th 1961, President J.F. Kennedy spoke the following words: ‘I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth’. He knew like no other that you can only fill people with enthusiasm by means of a specific goal. Almost half a century later, many company managers should analyze JFK’s Moon Speech.

Empty box
Overblown company values often don’t mean much. They sound important, but are rarely put into practice in a company. Unfortunately, this is very often the case for business jargon. Vision, mission, thrust,… How concrete are these terms? The employees on the work floor do not believe people using such words anymore.

But this is not all. Are these theoretical values visible within the company? When consulting the agenda of the latest management meetings, you will quickly notice that the connection with their goal is often very hard to find. The ‘mission statement’ has become obsolete. Everybody can recall some fancy workshop, but its goal is often no more than an empty box.

According to my experience, the central mission has been formulated too vaguely, most of the time. It is complex and rarely appeals to one’s imagination. Moreover, the concretization of that mission is often not good enough. What does this mean to me? How do I apply that abstract vision on my own job responsibilities?

During workshops, I often hold the following test:
  1. Can you write down fluently your company’s vision and mission? Congratulations! In many companies, 95 percent of the employees can’t!
  2. Are you enthusiastic? Did you discuss that vision with your friends last week?
  3. Acid test! Do your customers know your goal and do they appreciate what you are doing for them? Did the latest ‘customer survey’ prove this?
I believe that you just need to rely on your common sense. Clearly describe what is essential and distinctive for your objective and briefly explain how you want to reach this goal together.

The one who really wants to be the first to drop a man on the moon, just says: ‘Let’s build a spaceship all together and launch it to the moon’.


By Herman van Herterijck

"my ambition is to put the importance of pragmatic and continuous self-coaching on the agenda of current business leaders"

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