On July 21st 1969, Neil Armstrong became the first human being to walk on the moon. Most of the people reading to this weren’t even born when this happened and don’t understand the significance of the event. They don’t remember the grainy TV pictures or the excitement in the air as people around the world listened to Armstrong declare “That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.”
And it was a giant leap. Just eight years earlier, President Kennedy had presented the challenge of placing a man on the moon by the end of the decade. Almost before the words had escaped his lips the skeptics appeared. It’s a waste of time. It’s too expensive. It’s too dangerous. It’s impossible.
But for those who believed, the challenge became a mission. They dedicated themselves to seeing the dream become a reality. Some made the ultimate sacrifice for the mission; men like Ed White, the first American to walk in space who later died in a launch pad fire along with fellow astronauts Virgil Grissom and Roger Chaffee.
However, most of those involved were mission specialists and controllers, men and women operating behind the scenes, each playing some small part in accomplishing the mission even though they themselves would never personally experience gazing back at the planet Earth from the surface of the moon. It was the combination of hundreds and thousands of contributions that led ultimately to Armstrong’s moonwalk. Without everyone playing their part, it never would have happened.
Sometimes it’s hard for people to see how their small contribution fits into the overall mission. It’s the job of the leader to help them see it. Leaders have to “connect the dots” so that everyone understands how important they are to achieving the larger goal. It’s not enough to just delegate tasks. You have to paint the “big picture” in order to draw people in.
Does everyone on your team understand the mission?
Do they each understand their role in achieving that goal?
What will you do today to help connect the dots?