I am, shall we say, an “enthusiastic” golfer – I don’t profess to be great at the game, but I respect it for the discipline and strategy it requires, the occasional unbridled joy it inspires and the lessons it has taught me that very easily align with life and business. It can be frustrating, hopeful, humbling and exhilarating in the space of a few hours – not unlike my experience as a parent or a day at the office.
Much has been written about the objective to aim such a small trajectory at a target that’s not much larger. And that’s why adding vision to the game plays such a role in one’s success. One of the best pieces of advice I’ve heard about putting – the most exasperating element of most golfers’ games – is to imagine the cup as larger than it is… because if a player is aiming at a broader area, they are much more likely to come closer to sinking the putt.
Sizing an objective to one that we can get our minds around does a few things for us: it makes the task at hand more attainable, shows us what is possible, diminishes our fear that our skill is not equal to the task, increases our belief in success, and cuts away the “can’t do” noise that crops up when we’re facing up to a challenge. One of my favorite examples of such aspirational and visionary thinking is the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Vaccines are the Gates Foundation’s biggest area of investment—more than $800 million every year—and the return is substantial. The Gates have stated, very simply (and monumentally) that they want vaccines to reach everyone in the world who needs them. Even though achieving full coverage is difficult and nearly impossible in some countries, even where delivery is a huge barrier, the overarching goal remains: to bring vaccines to everyone who needs them – it is a simple statement with colossal impact.
In our May Board of Directors meeting – just a few days after I came on board – we ran through an exercise to drill down to what we all saw as our overarching goal for the association – what we see as the organization’s ultimate aspiration, and we agreed on this vision: to be the primary resource for all mobility needs. It, too, is a simple statement with colossal impact, because it positions us to bring excellence in workforce mobility to the whole world, and to help entire companies and countries fulfill their business strategies.
And I’m eager to sink that putt. In fact, I’m envisioning it right now.