Following up on my last post, If you aren’t experiencing failure, then you are making a far worse mistake: You are being driven by the desire to avoid it, there is another quote from the book, Creativity Inc., that extends the boat analogy:

The director’s job is to say, “Land is that way.” Maybe land actually is that way and maybe it isn’t, but Andrew says that if you don’t have somebody choosing a course—pointing their finger toward that spot there, on the horizon—then the ship goes nowhere.

The CEO of a startup…or a film director…or a ship captain…should be able to visualize the goal and, even though the way to get there is unknown, inspire confidence in the team around that goal.

Anytime I talk to a young CEO and they say, “I’m not really sure what I’m hoping to achieve with this company,” I immediately stop them and explain that before they do anything else, they need to figure that out. If they don’t know the end goal, then how can they make sure the decisions they make today are going to get them closer vs. further from that goal?

When you’re leading a young company, especially one that is forging new ground, it is important that those you are leading feel confident that you know where you’re taking them. Even if you change the end goal along the way, a lack of confident, land-is-that-way pointing, will result in a fractured, demotivated team.

So, go point to some land already!