Traveling the last mile with next wave generation

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Technologist types geek out on their art like few other professionals. The closest sibling is the research scientist that is pursuing truth because of the common belief that someone should. Leadership is often seen in the form of creating and communicating vision – the direction and target for success. One of the leadership plagues is the tendency to focus on building to the letter of a vision and not ingest it in spirit. If every project was able to achieve the fullness of the leader’s vision one might argue the vision to be limited. Embodying the spirit of the vision ensures that whatever is done aligns with the guiding light.

The last mile of any journey is bittersweet. A lot of energy, expense and time are expended to reach it. Often the last mile is actually thousands of miles, because the vastness of the vision is practically unreachable. The vision is the direction and target, not the plan. Building the plan to mirror the vision ensures the project will never conclude. This seems obvious, but seems to pervade all walks of business. Superficial understanding of the vision creates mediocrity.

Consider the next wave generation with a more progressive attitude towards life and work. Their relationship with the Company is fundamentally different – faithful until they find another. The idea that they would come, go and return is highly probable. Challenges exist in the brain churn as talent moves through and efforts sustain beyond their presence. Travel the last mile with the next wave generation and you will lose your talent while they grow tired of waiting for you to realize that the last mile is less rewarding. Making it even part way toward the light is more engaging and interesting. Success can be experienced and value realized – talk about really being agile!

A leader’s ability to embody a vision and practically plot a course that nurtures talent and delivers value is one of the ultimate performance measures. Avoiding last mile marathons focuses all the attention on the actions and deliverables that bring short and even long term value. An organization might still desire the last mile, but planning for it is next to dreaming. Boats use lighthouses to navigate the waters, not dock their ship.

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