Why does it seem like projects, or work in general, sometimes become like an episode of Mission: Impossible? Plenty of action and drama on a seemingly convoluted and painful road. For Ethan Hunt and his IMF team, that looks like death and destruction. For the rest of us it looks like people not working together. Things aren’t getting done at the right time or in quite the right way. Deadlines or goals are being missed.
While Ethan Hunt’s circumstances may be somewhat more dramatic than ours, there are some real business lessons in those impossible missions. Just like the IMF, our teams need to know:
Where are we going? What road are we taking? What does success look like?
For our missions to be successful we need a collective agreement that gives direction and purpose to what we’re doing, defines our path, and creates enthusiasm and focus to get to the goal. That agreement has three key parts:
Strategic Direction and Intent: This is what gives us (and our teams) long-term purpose and direction. It answers the “where are we going” and “why are we going there” questions that our teams ask. Without them, we are asking them to march forward without knowing which roads to take or why they’re even taking them.
Goals and Objectives: Goals and objectives give us clarity on what needs to be done to accomplish the mission. They’re the ambitious but realistic checkpoints that keep us on the best path and on time. These are always mission oriented accomplishments that leadership has acknowledged (“on the record”), that everyone has agreed to, and that are important enough to measure and reward.
Vision: Vision is the view of the future that creates the excitement and motivation to run the race. It also provides us the filter to make sure that short-term thinking doesn’t compromise long-term view.
With these three steps, we can transform what may seem to be an impossible mission into one that is very possible and far more rewarding…if we choose to accept it.
Continue to Part 4 in this series
Jon Reed is ADG’s Director of Culture and People Development. Click here to read more about Jon's background and experience.