The year was 1519 when Hernán Cortez set sail for the New World. His strategic objective was the conquest of Mexico. The Aztec were a great nation with vast stores of gold and silver, an incalculable prize for King Charles I of Spain. Though I do not agree with what he had set out to do (not all strategic objectives are noble), I do, marvel at how such a small army could defeat a vast empire that had endured for 600 years. The key ingredient for their success would go down in history as one of the greatest Momentum tactics ever applied.
When taking the step from idea to execution, we can all learn something from the Spanish conquistador. After sailing halfway around the world, Cortez landed his eleven ships on the beaches of the Mexican Yucatan and unloaded the 500 men and supplies. Cortez then gathered his men around him and delivered those fateful words that now echo in the annals of leadership history, “Burn the Ships!” From that point onward, there could be no retreat. The only option was success.