Business Posts

It’s the Box Top!

It’s the Box Top!

By General Robert Van Antwerp

11 years ago




All great leaders do the following 4 things extremely well:

  1. They know where they are going. (VISION)
  2. They are able to persuade others to follow. (INFLUENCE)
  3. They meet people’s needs, get them unstuck. (SERVE)
  4. They grow successors. (DEVELOP)

Today I want to talk about VISION.

During most holidays, you’ll find a 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle on one of our tables. It’s a magnet for conversation and fellowship for both young and old alike. Inevitably, we work corners and edges first to get it “framed in.” Most would agree that the corners and edges are the most important part of a jigsaw puzzle.

That was until I switched box tops on a puzzle we were working on! They quickly realized that something was amiss and progress ground to a halt. They couldn’t figure out what they were working toward. Turns out, the box top is the most important part of a jigsaw puzzle!

Visionary leaders describe the box top so that people can see the end state and see themselves in it (their puzzle piece) and their contribution to the larger picture.

Here are a couple of great box top describers:

  • Robert Woodruff was the President of Coca-Cola from 1923 to 1955. He was known as a visionary leader. During World War II, his vision for Coca-Cola was clear, concise and understood by all. He said, “We will see that every man or woman in uniform gets a bottle of Coca-Cola for 5 cents wherever he or she is and whatever the costs.” (p.s.—I was in uniform once so I get thirsty when I read that one!)
  • Walt Disney was the legendary, visionary leader of Walt Disney Enterprises. He called his creative geniuses “Imagineers” and they made his vision for Disney Land and Disney World come true. Walt wanted to “create a wonderland where adults could relive their childhoods and children could live their fantasies.” He communicated by drawing “sketches” (box tops!) and having discussions of every detail with his imagineers. When Disney World was finished, Mrs. Walt Disney was asked to speak at the grand opening, since Walt had passed away. They prepared a speech for her to deliver but she never used it. She was introduced by the CEO who said to her prior to her taking the podium, “Mrs. Disney, I just wish Walt could have seen this.” She stood up, related the story and said, “HE DID!” and she sat down. There was no question on anyone’s part that he saw the vision of Disney World and described the box top to those who would make it a reality.

How are you doing in describing your box top?

General Robert Van Antwerp

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