How to Choose a Direction

HOW TO CHOOSE A DIRECTION

One of my recommendations for clients is how to choose a direction. Imagine getting in your car and just driving with no destination in mind. Perhaps, along your travels, you venture into unfamiliar territory and become completely lost.

What do you do? Where do you go from here? How will you know when you’ve arrived?

You probably have not done this. We usually know where we are headed to and have a fairly clear sense of how to get there.

And yet, Lorna called to tell me that is exactly how she feels every day when she goes to work.

Lorna holds a senior management position in a privately-owned business that operates throughout Western Canada. She has been with this company for 15 years and has steadily progressed from an entry-level position to the executive role she occupies today.

She told me she has been following my recent postings on leadership traits and felt compelled to call and share her frustration with the current CEO of her company whose qualifications for the role primarily consisted of being the grandson of the founder.

Choose a Direction

The CEO’s father had steered the company on a continual pathway of growth then suddenly passed away, paving the way for his son to take over.

The current CEO showed no interest in continuing the trajectory his father had begun and, in fact, belittled the notion that planning and goal-setting was of any importance.

In the two years he has held this position, the company has shifted from being dynamic, surefooted and growth oriented to being staid, dull and seemingly rudderless.

The new CEO is largely an absentee leader as his interests appear to be more focused on his golf score than his job responsibilities.

He has delegated all day-to-day activities to senior management and quickly puts an end to any discussions around growth and planning.

His view is that those things happen organically and as long as everyone “just does their job”, the company will continue to grow and prosper.

Predictably, that has not been the case and Lorna used the metaphor described in the first paragraph as her way of explaining the day-to-day life of the company.

She went on to say that it was like being inside two of Lewis Carroll lines from Alice in Wonderland.

If you don't know where you are going, any road will get you there.”

Alice: Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?
The Cheshire Cat: That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.
Alice: I don't much care where.
The Cheshire Cat: Then it doesn't much matter which way you go."

Take the Time to Plan

Sound familiar? Great results NEVER just happen by accident. Great organizations dedicate as much time, effort and resources as needed to set goals and creative vision.

Knowing where you intend to be in two, three or five years is not only inspirational, it also sets the stage for creating the blueprint for getting there.

There are few leadership faults more damaging than the absence of good planning. I am sorry to say Lorna feels that a more years under the current leadership and the company she has dedicated so many years to will cease to exist.

Not having a destination also means it doesn’t matter what you do and as we all know, that’s no way to run a company.

Till we read again.

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