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“If you seek to achieve greatness, stretching for amazing is a great way to start.” John Doerr

By Dan Rockwell


Set a goal that requires you to rethink the way you do things.

Astro Teller, leader of Google X, illustrated the power of Moon-Shot-Goals when he said …

“If you want your car to get 50 miles per gallon, fine. You can retool your car a little bit. But if I tell you your car has to run 500 miles on a gallon of gas, you have to start over.” (WSJ)

Moon-Shot-Goals ignite creativity and innovation, not simply greater productivity and efficiency.

The gospel of OKR’s – Objectives and Key Results:

John Doerr has been preaching the gospel of OKR’s since the 80’s. He learned the system from Andy Grove (9/2/1936 – 3/21/2016), former CEO of IBM.

What and how:

Doerr explains, “The objective is WHAT I want to have accomplished. The key results are HOW I’m going to get it done. The objectives are typically longer lived. They’re bold and aspirational. The key results are aggressive, but always measurable, time-bound, and limited in number.” (HBR)

Timing and OKR’s:

Short-term goals impact daily behavior. Long-term goals define success and establish direction.

The 5 superpowers of OKR’s:

The acronym FACTS explains the 5 superpowers of OKR’s.

  1. Focus. OKR’s explain what matters most. “Innovation means saying No to one thousand things.” Steve Jobs
  2. Alignment – common purpose and creative latitude. Micro-management is mismanagement.
  3. Commitment and accountability. Establish weakly check-ins.
  4. Tracking. Make everyone’s KR’s public and trackable. People want to know if they’re succeeding.
  5. Stretching. A pattern of 70% attainment indicates OKR’s are functioning effectively. 100% achievement means the KR’s were too low.

(The above list is adapted from, “How VC John Doerr Sets (and Achieves) Goals”)

Note: Some operational KR’s need to be achieved 100%.





John Glenn becoming the first American to orbit the Earth on February 20, 1962. He spent 4 hours, 55 minutes, 23 seconds in space and orbited the earth three times.

Scott Carpenter followed Glenn on May 24, 1962. He spent 4 hours, 56 minutes, 5 seconds in space. (NASA)

By Dan Rockwell

6 Orbits later:

The U.S. had orbited the earth a grand total of six times when President John F. Kennedy announced the outlandish Moon-Shot-Goal. It was September 12, 1962.

Kennedy said, “We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, …”


Larry Page of Google is the high priest of 10x-ing everything, stretching further. He’ll say, I’d rather have the objective be to go to Mars, and if we fall short, we’ll get to the moon.” (John DoerrMeasure What Matters)

Set a goal that’s so big that working harder to reach it is out of the question.

Attainable goals make you work hard. 10x goals shift your thinking and transform your business.

You can’t achieve Moon-Shot-Goals by simply working harder.


  1. Buckle your knees AND capture your heart. Goals without heart become brutal sledge hammers.
  2. Build on past success, but don’t repeat past success.
  3. Are achieved by true believers, not skeptics. Hire people who feel the fire of doing something big.
  4. Include sacrifice and commitment.
  5. Require creative iteration. Try something. Learn. Try something new. Adapt. Try again.

Give people a dream that touches their lives and they’ll reach higher than they could have imagined.

What has setting Moon-Shot-Goals done for you?

What suggestions do you have for setting Moon-Shot-Goals?




January 2022

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