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From joking to winning

In his book Winning, Jack Welch (2005) emphasizes the importance of a mission to winning in business. However, many companies do not know what a mission is, let alone know how to develop a mission. Lacking clear purpose and direction, these organizations do not reach their potential, or worse, they flounder and fail.

Welch’s first step toward winning in business is to establish a mission and values that influence mission-attainment behaviors. Creating the mission and values of an organization are core functions of executive leadership but should not be developed in isolation. The mission provides people with a “clear sense of the direction… and the inspiration to feel they are part of something big” (p. 15). Similarly, Jim Collins (2004) said two fundamental leadership roles are to

  1. catalyze a clear and shared vision and
  2. secure a commitment to pursue that vision.

Leaders who isolate themselves and dictate tend to have difficulty fostering commitment, influencing behaviors, and driving the continuous change necessary to win in turbulent competitive environments.

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