The context of anything sets the frame around it,
shaping the meaning of everything within that frame. The context, thus,
defines the “playing field” within which a game will be played.
Declaration of a goal is a powerful act for creating
Declaring a goal creates a shared context for action, a new "playing
field." The following example of the Apollo Project clearly illustrates
this. Once a new context or “playing field” is created, the entire
universe of activities and resources can be evaluated in terms of how
they contribute to achieving the goal of the new game to be played.
In 1961, President Kennedy announced that we would “put
a man on the moon and bring him back safely by the end of the decade.”
a clear national goal. At that time, however, his advisors told him
that we only knew five or six percent of what was needed to achieve
this goal. A two-year survey was then made of the nation’s resources
and technologies to see what could be applied toward achieving this new
goal. The research team found that about two-thirds of the
required resources and technologies were already available! A critical
path was then laid out, designed to
achieve the stated goal. This was modified as needed over the next few
years.....and we “won the game” as the first men stepped onto the moon
and then returned safely to Earth—several months before the decade
Setting a timeline is important
Imagine what might have happened (or, not happened) if Kennedy had only
said, "We will put a man on the moon and bring him back safely." The
importance of having a clear timeline for accomplishing goals seems
obvious. When we set a date for completing the “game,” we create a
“unit” of activity. Planners can then go to the endpoint—the "finish
line"—and describe the final outcome. What, precisely, will “winning
the game” look like? Then, the planners can begin to plan backwards,
starting at the endpoint and working backwards to the present time,
thus determining the exact steps that will be required to achieve the
goal of the game—year by year, month by month, day by day. This
backplanning can only be done if there is a clearly defined outcome
with a date of completion.
The Best Game on Earth
The Best Game on Earth, like the Apollo Project, has a specific set of
goals to be achieved by a specific time. The Game also has a set of
“rules” or “guidelines” for play. These set the overall context for The
Game. What happens next will depend on each one of us.
Thank you for playing your part!