A consultant met with the fifteen-member executive team of a large corporation recently. They wanted to find out why they couldn’t seem to reach their most important corporate goals. They had hoped for company-wide engagement, but no one seemed focused on that shared vision.

The consultant asked, “Do your people know exactly what the top goals of the organization are?” The leaders were convinced that they did, because they had communicated those goals clearly and repeatedly in meetings, memos, and media. “Definitely,” they said.

The consultant said, “Can I try a little experiment?” He asked each executive to pull out a piece of paper and write down the three top goals of the organization, then collected the sheets and read the responses aloud.

No one had written down the same three goals…and these were the people who had crafted them. It became obvious if they were unclear, their people would be even less inclined to know.

It’s a common problem. If people have different ideas of their company or team’s goal, they lose the energy that comes from a team working precisely together to move toward a clear, common goal.

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