Create a Clear Line of Sight to Purpose

IN 2014 JOHN GAVE TWO KEYNOTE SPEECHES IN SUCCESSIVE WEEKS to two companies in the insurance and financial services industry. Both speeches were at annual meetings headlined by the companies’ CEOs, who spoke to their respective top leadership teams, numbering in the hundreds. At the first meeting, the CEO presented a seemingly endless series of slides—there were more than 30 of them, but they could likely have been boiled down to a singular message.

The CEO’s main point went something like this: The previous year the company sold more of "everything" and they "sure as hell" had better sell even more the following year. The strategy to implement this plan was unveiled with little emotion or connection ...

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