I thought I’d give some examples in history of clarity in action. Tomorrow I’ll show some examples of action without clarity.
The first Gulf War, sometimes called Desert Storm, was a conflict with a well defined desired outcome. Iraq had invaded Kuwait. The United States declared that the Kuwait must be freed from the aggression of the Iraqis.
To that end the United States created a coalition of Western nations that together with the UN decided on the mission. The mission was to drive Iraq soldiers out of Kuwait and help Kuwait regain their sovereignty. No added mission; kick them out and leave. This focus let the coalition fulfill their mission in a short period and for a modest cost. Their were elements in the US who wanted us to expand the mission to interfere in the internal politics of Iraq but the coalition held fast to their objective. The simply stated mission was easy to translate into action and easy to end the action because the goal was concrete.
Although not as clear cut and because of distance and time the Barbary Wars were another example of a well defined objective. The early United States was a target of North African states Tripoli, Algiers, and Tunis. They captured merchant ships and demanded ransom and tribute that were significant percentages of the US budget.
The US finally decided that they wanted to end the piracy of these states. They created a small navy with a force of marines. It took a while to establish their power but finally by 1805 they had brought war to these states and forced them to sign treaties to stop taking US ships.
The goal was simple. Stop piracy by these North African states. It took a while, as I said, but the mission was so defined and limited that the citizens of the US were behind the effort. The task wasn’t easy but the mission definition was clear; stop piracy. They did.
As an exercise look at some of your goals and see if they are 1) clear 2) have defined end points and 3) are actionable.