Today I want to give you something that really set my mind to thinking. This comes from an editorial by Mark Stevens who is a CEO for MSCO. It’s quite thought provoking for leaders and those in organizations. It’s entitled, “The Flag on the Moon” – I hope you enjoy.
On these luminous full-moon autumn nights, I look up at the lunar surface and I am happy to know that an American flag is planted there. Sometimes I wonder why this gives me a sense of pride. It is 240,000 miles away, no one sees it, no one salutes it. It is as if it isn’t there. But my heart and my mind tell me differently. Sometimes you don’t have to see something for it to move you.
As I think about it, old glory on the moon is a symbol, an icon, all of us can learn from. A symbol of vision, creativity, determination, drive, bravado, courage–all rolled up into the meteor of human achievement. It is a metaphor for how magnificent achievements are accomplished not only in space but in business, science, the arts and in our personal lives if we are driven to make a difference.
1. John Kennedy came out of nowhere and pledged to put a man on the moon in a decade. He didn’t take a poll on whether it was wise or not, popular or viewed as a waste of money. He simply trumpeted it to the world. And he didn’t say we would get it done in a reasonable amount of time or any other kind of equivocation. He said a decade. Period.
This is leadership. This is the opposite of the followership, and the focus on consensus building I often see posing as leadership. There is no room for second guessing, naysaying or stalling. The leader called for an American flag on the moon within a decade. And it would be done.
2. The smartest minds in the world went about addressing the most complex challenge mankind had ever assumed. They put aside their personal agendas and their traditional rivalries. They acted in concert around a profound and exhilarating goal.
I walk into companies around the world and find them wracked by animosities, politics, second-guessing, even sabotages. Every new idea is greeted with fear, disdain and resistance. The vast amount of energy generated by the human beings at work in the company is directed at blocking and frustrating each other as opposed to finding and leveraging opportunities in the marketplace.
This is the kiss of death for innovation. For genuine achievement.
3. A new breed of people, astronauts, raised their hands and strode gallantly and fearlessly into the unknown. They wanted nothing more than to be strapped into new and untested technology and blasted, all alone, into the depths of space.
A leader set out the vision of a magnificent goal, a team of geniuses figured out how to make the dream a reality and a cadre of brave hearts enlisted for the mission.
This is how wonderful things get done in life. It doesn’t have to be as grand in scope and sweeping in drama as the national drive that placed an American flag on the moon. It is how companies, small and large, take ideas and turn them into wonderful successes, both small and large. It’s not the size that matters but the drive to achieve that is the winning syndrome.
Great quote I read recently: “Let the past be a servant for making the future more enjoyable and more profitable.” — Jim Rohn