Knowing the route can be as valuable as the goal
This morning as I sat clearing out the spam from the email box, I noticed an update from one of the LinkedIn groups I am a member of. Its title was:
“Why are you running?”
In the article the author shared their story of some thoughts they had while out on a regular run, highlighting that this was a great strategy for creating thinking time. This all come about because the individual was reflecting on the question “why do I run?”. His own reflections were of health, thinking time, competition etc.
In the article he poses an interesting thought:
“Imagine showing up at the starting line to run a marathon in the city of New York without any indication of where the finish line is located. No signs, no mile markers, no volunteers to guide you. All you know is that the finish line is 26.2 miles away.
How many extra miles will you end up running to find the finish line? How many additional hours will you spent trying to make your way to the tape? Will you even find the end? Will you stay motivated enough to continue on, or will you eventually quit?”
How often do we undertake work assignments, projects and other activities and know the goal or destination, but start without appropriate guides, structures or boundaries?
As consultants many of us focus on the goal, we ensure it is SMARTer, understood and communicated, however one trend I have noticed over the past few years is the trend to ignore process and the feeling that offering “step by step” instructions or guides is seen as undermining empowerment. certainly if we dictate the steps then that is undermining empowerment and local creativity and innovation, however we at the same time throws the baby out with the proverbial bath water and so not work with the teams enough to help them develop their own route around the course.
The next time you are involved in a project think about the steps you can take to help teams develop there course and route to the desired and required organisational goal.