Monday, July 30, 2012

Heading north?

"True north" was a wildly popular term in the late 20th century. So popular that dozens of companies, organizations and products incorporated the term into their name.  Paradoxically, it became so widely embraced and adopted that its usage in recent years has gone south

True North is, literally, a physical place.  It refers to the earth's geographic North Pole.  It is unmovable, immutable, constant, consistent.  It is, not literally, the polar opposite of Magnetic North, which varies in time and place, and by your perspective.

So, navigationally, literally and figuratively, it is best to know True North, or you may be traveling off course.

Metaphorically, it is also necessary to find and understand your True North if you wish to end up where you want to go metaphysically.

What does this mean to the business leader in practical terms?  Many things, but let's focus on a couple:
  • Know where you want to go.  It may sound simplistic, but I frequently have this discussion with my clients.  Coming to understand what you want to have happen is essential to the task of leading. 
  • You must have both intermediate and ultimate goals for your self, your staff and your organization.  Intermediate goals are necessary for making the slight adjustments necessary to stay on course, and navigate to the next objective.
  • Clearly communicate not only your goals, but also the intended path to achieving them.  What's your plan? Are you using maps and measurements or relying on dead reckoning? When you arrive, what's next?
Mathematician/logician/novelist Lewis Carroll once wrote: "If you don't know where you are going, any road will take you there."  In business you need a destination; as a business owner, the route you take is your choice.  Choose well.

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