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."

Mnet 115511 Mike Collins Lead

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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