Vision

There’s an apocryphal  story concerning President Kennedy  visiting the space centre at Cape Canaveral and asking a janitor “What’s your job here?” to which the man looks up at Kennedy and says “Well Mr President, I’m helping to put a man on the moon”.

It echoes the Story of Christopher Wren designer of both St Pauls Cathedral and much of London after the Great Fire in 1666. The story goes that Sir Christopher walked onto the building site one day and asked a man “What are you doing?” to which the man replied, “I am cutting a piece of stone.” He then asked a second man the same thing and the man replied, “I am earning five shillings twopence a day.” As with all these stories he then asks a third man the same question and received the reply “I am helping Sir Christopher Wren build a beautiful cathedral.” (Perhaps you can see the likeness with the Kennedy story). The point is that these men knew what they were working towards and didn’t just turn up to take a wage or to do a job but were working towards a common goal and knew how they would make a difference towards achieving that goal.

Now, I could have used these quotes to demonstrate why the correct delegation of tasks and motivation of staff is important (people work better if they are motivated and know what the purpose of the task is) but I think they speak more towards leadership and giving people something to believe in as a motivational technique.

Ask yourself this, when Martin Luther King stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on August 28 1963 wanting to bring the masses with him on his crusade for social justice did he say “I have a plan” or did he say “I have a dream”? People are far more likely to follow a man of vision than they are to follow a great strategist.

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