Leaders create a vision for others to follow
On May 25, 1961, John F. Kennedy stood before Congress and proclaimed “This nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before the decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the Earth.” He did not say we would like to; nor did he say it would be a worthwhile project to look into; nor did he say we will try to accomplish. John F. Kennedy stated the USA would complete this task by the end of the decade. He spoke confidently creating a vision, he made others believe would happen and then he told them when it would happen.
Leaders create visions for others to believe will happen and then the followers make his vision happen.
The “HOW” is easy when you have a “WHY.”
When the speech was made, NASA had just been created. Even more remarkable, the USA had not been able to launch any type of rocket of any size without it self-destructing.
But, at the time the USSR was far ahead of the USA in the space race and John F. Kennedy needed to do something to get things moving forward. And fast. He needed to mobilize the entire country on a single-focused event, which was tangible, measureable, and understandable by every American. Nothing motivates people like competition. Which is just exactly what JFK did, he threw down the challenge to the rest of the world, including what the USA was going to do and when. Great leaders confidently provide a vision; they are smart enough to allow others, who possess the specific talents and skill with the freedom and creativity to figure out HOW the actual project will be accomplished.
JFK did not talk about what type of rocket booster would be used, nor did he explain in details. He didn’t create the idea of stages of development through separate programs such as Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo. He had no idea HOW it was going to happen, which was up to the scientists, engineers, and business people. What he gave Americans was a clear vision of WHAT needed to be accomplished and WHEN. Leaders are good at motivating their followers toward a common goal and keeping them focused to achieve that goal.
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