How Clear is Your Vision?

On September 12, 1962, John F. Kennedy Jr. addressed a crowd at Rice University stadium in Houston, Texas. 

The middle of the speech contains these words:

“But why, some say, the moon? Why choose this as our goal? And they may well ask why climb the highest mountain? Why, 35 years ago, fly the Atlantic? Why does Rice play Texas? 

We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too. 

It is for these reasons that I regard the decision last year to shift our efforts in space from low to high gear as among the most important decisions that will be made during my incumbency in the office of the Presidency.”

These three paragraphs are one of the clearest articulations of a vision statement you will ever hear. 

  • The goal is clear:  “We choose to go to the moon.”
  • The timeframe is set: “In this decade.”
  • It’s inspiring.
  • It acknowledges that it will not be easy: “The best of energies and skills.”


Throughout my career, I have heard countless leadership talks and read numerous books and articles on mission and vision statements. Each one had its merits, but I was introduced to Ari Weinzwig’s work in Building a Great Business last year

(Ari is a Co-founding Partner of Zingerman’s Deli in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and a line cook turned CEO. Zingerman’s Deli has become an iconic food establishment, and the Zingerman’s Community Of Businesses has blossomed into 11 businesses with an annual revenue exceeding $65 million. He is also one of the keynote speakers at Leadercast 2024–GHOAT.)

Ari defines vision as “a picture of what success looks like for us at a particular point in the future. That means it’s:

  1. Inspiring. To ALL who will be involved in implementing it.
  2. Strategically sound. We actually have a decent shot at making it happen.
  3. Documented. You really need to write your vision down to make it work.
  4. Communicated. Yes, if you want your vision to be effective, you have to not only document it but tell people about it.”

And here is a moment of honesty. I read those words late last summer, and we still have not finished this for our team. 


Because life (and work) gets busy.

Last week alone, I spent 8-10 hours working on problems I didn’t even know existed when the week began. 

But that’s an excuse, not a reason. 

So, this week, I will block out some time and work on our vision for Leadercast. It probably won’t involve going to the moon, but it may be just as impactful if we do it right.


Brian Rutherford

Brian Rutherford is the Chief Operating Officer for Leadercast. Brian has been telling stories professionally for twenty-five years. Stories that inspire people to see themselves and the world differently. Stories that challenge people to take meaningful action in the world.

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