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Taking The What To The How

Often, managers are very comfortable with painting some kind of a future vision of what could be done, but avoid a written plan that explained how it was to be done — failing to complete the key step of taking the "What" to the "How."

Throughout my manufacturing career, I’ve spent many hours in customer waiting rooms, where I would always read the company mission statement if it were mounted on the wall. I must admit that I have never been comfortable with the idea of mission/vision statements because I always thought them to be statements on what the company would like to do — not what they are really capable of doing.

Most of these statements use boastful words and flowery language; they are speculations on the future, such as “becoming the world leader in…” — and they use vague language and unsubstantiated claims such as “commitment to excellence”. I always wondered if the real intention was to just make everybody feel better with positive words and happy talk.

What I learned after many years was that, often, managers were very comfortable with painting some kind of a future vision of what could be done, but avoided a written plan that explained how it was to be done — taking the What to the How.

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