Note: This is an excerpt from my latest book,Drive One Direction: How to Unleash the Accelerating Power of Alignment. In the One Vision chapter, we highlight companies who unleashed the accelerating power of alignment with an intense focus on One Vision.
Mothers Against Drunk Driving (www.MADD.com) is a Washington, D.C., nonprofit organization with over 400 employees, over 8,000 volunteers, and over 200 field locations.
It all started with One Mom.
Candace Lightner founded Mothers Against Drunk Driving on September 5, 1980, after her 13-year-old daughter, Cari, was killed by a drunk driver.
In the nearly 40 years since their founding, drunk driving deaths have been reduced by 50%.
While that is impressive, they are intensely focused on One Number: zero.
Zero deaths. Zero injuries. Zero families impacted by impaired driving.
Here is how they bring their vision to life, “At MADD, we believe in zero. Zero fathers who aren’t there for bedtime. Zero mothers who miss the first day of kindergarten. Zero sons and daughters who never come home. We believe in zero victims of drunk driving. Since MADD’s founding, we’ve made great strides … but it is not good enough because every year, drunk driving injures over 290,000 people. It’s not good enough because every year, drunk driving takes 10,000 lives. It’s not good enough because it isn’t zero.”
MADD’s campaign to get to zero has four strategic initiatives:
- High-visibility law enforcement, including DUI checkpoints.
- Ignition interlocks for all convicted drunk drivers, which forces offenders to provide a sober breath sample before operating their vehicles.
- Advanced vehicle technology, including autonomous vehicles which have the potential to eliminate roadway fatalities.
- Public support, since everyone has a responsibility to help eliminate drunk driving.
In Built to Last, Jim Collins and Jerry Porras introduced the concept of the Big, Hairy, Audacious Goal or BHAG (pronounced bee-hag). Here is how they describe it, “A true BHAG is clear and compelling, serves as unifying focal point of effort, and acts as a clear catalyst for team spirit. It has a clear finish line, so the organization can know when it has achieved the goal; people like to shoot for finish lines.”
MADD’s “zero” is a brilliant example of a BHAG. It is clear, simple, and inspiring.
It is also a brilliant example of the One Number strategy. When you can summarize your vision in One Number, everyone knows exactly how you keep score.
Lots of numbers are important, but it is the job of the leader to define which One is the most important.
Revenue. Revenue Growth. Profitability. Market Share. Customer Satisfaction. Net Promoter. Earnings per Share. Share Price. All of these (and more) are good numbers.
Which One is the most important? That depends on how you define success. Ideally, find One Number that is simple to measure and simple to communicate.
MADD’s vision is One Word that also happens to be One Number. Brilliant!
If you had to summarize your vision with One Number, what would it be?