Say what you want

Euphemism is easier than ever. Broad strokes, majestic language, big ideas… Mission statements and humanitarian motives.

It’s interesting to note that organized sports, one of the first places that hyperbloviation caught on, is still honest about the point of today’s game. “Our goal is to score more points than they do.”

It’s really clear what the team is trying to do.

Often, we’re so busy talking about our ideals and motivations that we forget to let our colleagues know precisely what we’re trying to do.

“Our goal is to make sure the State Senate votes no on this bill.”

“We want to sell 10,000 more packages this month.”

“Actually, all our shareholders care about is making a bigger quarterly sales number.”

The problem with focusing on only the short-term is that it leads people to cut corners, to create negative outcomes and to crumble in the face of change. Our overarching mission matters.

But being honest to yourself matters too.

If your team regularly suspends your stated overarching mission with thinly disguised emergencies in search of an outcome you’re not that proud of, it’s time to admit that the emergencies are what you actually do.

Here’s a simple test: If a competitor came along who could achieve your stated mission faster and more effectively than you could, would you cheer them on?

If you’re not proud of what you actually do, perhaps you can explore doing something else instead.

Seth Godin

Seth Godin

Hi. I’m Seth Godin. I’m a teacher, and I do projects.

For more than thirty years, I’ve been trying to turn on lights, inspire people and teach them how to level up. This blog has been appearing daily for more than a decade. One day, if we meet, I hope you’ll share with me your favorite posts. Even better, I’d like to hear about how a book or course helped you interact with the world differently and make a difference.
Seth Godin

Latest posts by Seth Godin (see all)

No tags for this post.

Leave a comment: