Servant Leadership Workplace-Moon

Helping To Put a Man on the Moon

Have you heard the story of “helping to put a man on the moon?”

Here’s how it goes.

One day, President Kennedy was visiting the Cape Canaveral space center for a tour. Along the way, the President asked staff members about their jobs and, in response, heard different explanations of their specific roles in the space program.

At one point, President Kennedy walked up to a man in overalls who was sweeping the floor.

“What do you do here, sir?” asked the President.

To which the man enthusiastically replied:

“I’m helping to put a man on the moon!”

OK, by all accounts that’s an apocryphal story. But I love it nonetheless.


Because it illustrates well what it means for someone to be really connected to the company mission.

Servant-leaders are particularly good at connecting their followers to their shared mission – and keeping that connection strong. That’s a distinctive servant leadership practice.

And it’s why organizations with strong servant leadership cultures tend to have high employee engagement.

Indeed, here’s something that is not apocryphal: Hard evidence shows that no single factor influences employee engagement as much as feeling connected to the company’s mission and deriving a sense of meaning and significance from the work.*

What do you think?

What would you respond if someone in your workplace asked, “what do you do here?” What would your colleagues say?

Let us know. Thanks!

As always, we appreciate your views.


* For more on this issue, you might like these two posts:

“Engagement & Energy – Connection to Mission Matters Most”

“5 Ways to Stay Connected to the Company Mission”