What’s your True North?

“I’m feeling lost”

“I’m not sure where we’re going”

“Where are we headed?”

These are questions of navigation and navigation is just as important when travelling, walking, flying, driving etc as it is when working in our businesses and organizations. Navigation means knowing where you are trying to get to and understanding the steps needed to get there.

At red10 we know that for every single degree a plane flies off course, it will miss it’s target landing spot by 92 feet for every mile it flies.

That amounts to about one mile off target for every sixty miles flown.

1-mile off target. Think about that.

On a single flight around the earth, 1 degree off would result in you missing your landing site by 500 miles.

Now imagine in your business the impact of each individual having 1-degree variation in their understanding of the critical business outcomes and objectives, could your organisation handle being 500 miles off target?

This week we were facilitating a Global Project Team at a leading pharmaceutical company and they realized they were not clear on their direction of travel. They each had different variations on what their true North was. In the hills that would mean they would all start walking in different directions, in business that would mean they would all start working on different work-streams and activities.

Being clear at the outset where you are trying to get to is all about having a compelling vision for your company and department. Your map and compass is your plan and strategy, the work-streams and priorities are the steps you need to take to get there.

Accurate navigation takes knowledge, skill and time, it won’t happen by accident, so spending time building a compelling direction of travel is essential. It can also bring you back on course if you see you are going wrong but you must stay aware and vigilant. You must notice you are off course. Knowing your true North can help you make tough decisions by asking if this course of action takes us closer to our destination or does it take us off course?

At red10 one of our 9 dimensions of Leadership is Vision and, simply put, this is knowing your true North, setting the direction of travel and enabling your team with the skills and confidence to get there. But you have to do the work at the beginning, you can’t assume people know where they are expected to go and, when they have a part in deciding the direction and destination, then they feel motivated and compelled to get there. New comers need to be shown the direction of travel and asked for their perspective, people leaving the team may have valuable navigation advice to hand over before they go. Finally, never underestimate the importance checking you are on course and restating the true North for the team.

What’s your True North?