Almost every leadership, strategy and motivation book on the planet advocates the importance of having a crystal-clear goal or vision for the future.
But, intuitively, we know this is an incredibly flawed position to take.
Sure, this outlook may serve in the short term. And, of course, an enterprise needs goals. If you want to galvanise a group of people towards achieving a particular outcome, a clear goal or vision is essential. People like goals — they remove the angst of uncertainty, and give us something to focus our efforts towards. Clear goals can also be reverse-engineered and broken down to create a roadmap, with clear milestones and executable steps. Past experience can be leveraged to improve performance, and systems can be optimised to improve efficiencies. Goals are easy to implement and incentivise, and a raft of precedents prove their efficacy.
But what happens if you don't know what the future has in store for your enterprise? What if you don't have a clear goal? What if you only have a vague hunch, or a fuzzy sense that something needs to change? What then? Do you simply wait for clarity? Or do you manufacture a goal and a forced sense of certainty?
Or worse: What happens if you wake up after a long ‘winning streak' only to discover that your enterprise is no longer relevant?
This is the major challenge many enterprise leaders face, and the fundamental flaw with leadership focused on clear goals and operational wins.
Naturally, this is quite a ...