Shawn Callahan has a post on Defining intent in a change management program in which he talks about the importance of leadership defining senses of direction, discovery and destiny for change programs.
A while ago I argued that the target metaphor was inappropriate for change projects. The idea that anyone could accurately define a change target, aim at it, and then hit it with a well shot arrow was, at best, an illusion. In most cases the possible, beneficial end states are wide and varied.
So the question is, how do you define an intent that provides direction, inspires action yet is not overly prescriptive? John F. Kennedy provides a good example.
I have a counter-thought to this. Why is there a change program at all? Isn't there a strategic directive or other effort in play that created the need for the change program? What if the strategic objective were achievable by a means other than this particular change program?
I say this, not because I disagree with Shawn's comments, but because these programs are not created strictly for the sake of change. Whenever possible, isn't it more sensible to create a system in which the sought-for change happens as a side-effect of the new way of doing business. I'm not as excited when the tactic is about change as I am when the tactic is about doing business such that our strategy works.