Dream big

Last week I had a chance to talk about Leadership to a group of senior managers in one of the business groups at Microsoft. One nugget that I shared with that crowd is something that I wanted to share broadly.

In my opinion, the first and foremost leadership attribute is the ability to Dream Big. I cannot think of a single leader (by definition successful) who hasn’t had this attribute or ability to dream big. My father has shared many pearls of wisdom with me but the one that made the deepest impression was “If you aspire for the stars, you may reach the tree top; If you aspire for the tree top, you are likely to fall flat on the ground”.

A few decades ago, JFK had declared “we will put a man on the moon in the next decade”. Henry Ford had committed to making the automobile affordable for all. Bill Gates had a dream of a computer on every desk in every home. These are but a few examples that illustrate this point.

Dreaming big is a necessary first step to doing great things. You then need to follow through with goals, priorities, execution capabilities, etc. to make the dream come true. But it all starts with dreaming big.