In 1952, after coming in 4th in the Olympics, Roger Bannister declared he would break the 4 minute mile. Two years later his declaration came true.
In 1961, John F. Kennedy, declared the United States would put a man on the moon and return him to earth safely before the end of the decade. In 1969, just before the decade ended, his declaration also came true.
In 1975, Bill Gates and Paul Allen of Microsoft, declared they would help put a computer in every desk and in every home. By 2008, 4 out of 5 homes have computers and virtually all businesses have made this declaration come true as well.
Of these three declarations which declaration is most to least powerful for creating Order of Magnitude value for your own firm? Why?
The Microsoft declaration is very good in that it was public, bold, and measurable.
Bannister’s took it up a notch by declaring a very specific end goal.
Kennedy’s is even better, in that he gave a timeframe.
If you were working for NASA in the early 1960’s I speculate Kennedy’s audacious and specific goal combined with a timeframe to complete it, was much more of a daily inspiration for NASA engineers than if Kennedy had declared “Let’s have a better space program than the Russians” Also it would have been very difficult to get investors, in this case the American people, to get excited about “Continually improving our space program”.
Here are the components to making your own powerful Order of Magnitude declaration:
a. Make your Declaration Significant and Audacious and Public
If the declaration is to have meaning to your employees and prospective employees, clients and prospective clients, and investors and potential investors, they have to know about it and it has to be memorable. Don’t hide it in the drawer, keep it quiet, or make it small.
b. Make your Declaration Specific and Measurable with a Timeframe
Make the declaration something that you can track with an endpoint. You will find that everybody associated with making the declaration real will be more excited and inspired to making it happen.
c. Make your Declaration Tactically Coherent
The declaration although difficult must be achievable or it must pass the “it can be done” test. For instance, if raising capital is an integral part of creating Order of Magnitude value, then of course planning to win the lottery is not a tactically coherent way to raise the money.
Creating a powerful Public Declaration is the single most important thing you do to making it come true,