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Tom Adams has been the CEO of Rosetta Stone since 2003. In 2009--the year the company went public--he was named Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year, Executive of the[…]

Big Think: You've spoken a lot about communicating your vision to a team of people and getting everybody on board and that there are a lot of challenges there. What is the best way to go about doing that?

Tom Adams: One of the things that’s critical for someone to achieve their goals is frankly to provide strong leadership and leadership at least from my experience has come from having a very strong purpose and for that purpose to be shared. At Rosetta Stone we spent weeks and weeks arguing about what the mission statement should be and our mission statement is actually not—it’s not dreamy. It’s "We deliver the best technology based solutions for learning languages," and we worked on every single word of that to make sure that that mission was narrow, was powerful, and had some stretch in it. Having hundreds of people aligned around a simple statement like that is incredibly empowering. It means that you don’t need to micromanage because people effectively they get it. They know which industry we’re in, what—that it’s about best. It’s not necessarily about the coolest or about the funnest. It’s about the best. We’re about results. They will have a good sense that it’sabout learning, not just practicing or playing and so by having all of that in our mission statement and evangelizing that statement with a team once it has been sort of embraced means that you’re able to be much more productive as a team. There are many [mission statements] that aren’t thought through, aren’t really worked, the team didn’t really develop [it] and when that’s the situation, obviously it’s not a powerful tool in the organization, but when the team has built the mission statement, has aligned on it, it’s an incredible driver ofaction and decision making.