Does your team understand what you’re trying to do?  Do they really know where you’re going?  What if we asked them about the core of your mission?  Could they help the rest of us understand what you’re doing?  Would they be able to differentiate the ideas that lead to sideways energy from the ideas that are ?

We’ve talked about clarifying the win, clearly describing what it is that you’re going to call success.  It’s such an important idea that we even came back to it again with more!  Then we talked about taking that clear understanding and designing decisive steps that lead to the right place.

Made to Stick brings us back to this exact strategic point with its emphasis on identifying the core of your idea.  There is a key insight in a reference to the Commander’s Intent–a planning element introduced by the Army in the 1980s.  Every order includes a "crisp, plain-talk statement that appears at the top [of the page] (p. 26)."

What if every idea we implemented had a commander’s intent?  What if at the beginning of the meeting to talk about the plan we boiled it down to a "crisp, plain-talk statement"?  I’m thinking that alone would make it more likely that our teams would be able to understand and describe a win.

How do you develop the commander’s intent statement?  There are two key questions that will help boil it down:

  • If we do nothing else during tomorrow’s mission, we must _____________________.
  • The single, most important thing we must do tomorrow is _____________________.

Think about what it would mean to your team if they understood your mission from that perspective.  What if they could say, "if we do nothing else, this is what we’re trying to do."  "This is a win."

Sound like something you need to implement?

You can pick up your copy of Made to Stick right here and join the discussion!

What Are You Trying To Do?