Sometimes it takes a different perspective in order to see things that are already mapped out in front of you. It can be a new employee coming into the company. It can be the loss of a major customer that you thought of as one that would “always” be there no matter what. It can be a downturn in the economy. It could be a change for the positive like getting a first commercial order for your new product. It can be bringing in a consultant. Whatever brings that new perspective, it is important to be able to recognize the importance of the “it” and to keep “it” IN perspective. Using the new information to be proactive—not reactive—is often critical to making the right decisions with the new information.
Try this for a comparison. You drive the same route to and from a client once a week for a year. You get in your car and you drive the same familiar route from your office parking lot to the client’s parking lot. Then one day, you get one of those GPS/Mapping devices for your car. Although you know how to get to the client, you decide to use the device anyway. You enter the client’s address and press “go.” You begin getting the directions. Turn right and go two miles … and so on. As you are driving to the client’s office, you glance at the images on the navigation screen: You are seeing the map for the roads you have normally traveled; the side roads and intersections; the subtle curves and other geography of the area—things you didn’t really process when you previously drove the road. You knew the road curved, but not that much or to that degree. You didn’t know it wasn’t really an east-west running road, but more a northwest-southeast road. You notice a hundred little things you didn’t see before. And then the direction pops up for you to turn four miles earlier than you normally turn, and suddenly you are on a different road heading to your client’s office—A way that gets you there 10 minutes earlier. You’ve received new information and a new view of the area you were sure you knew everything about.
Sometimes We Are Too Close To See the Road or the Route
The road we are familiar with is usually the one we automatically take. As creatures of habit, we tend to drive the same routes over and over. We take for granted the features of the route and the contours of the road. We process the subtle curves and make the corrections in order to drive it, but we are only processing the information at the level necessary to keep the car on the road, not at the level that takes us to “the road is shifting direction and so the road isn’t really straight but is generally curving and this means…” We process what we are used to and expect to see superficially. We accept the patterns of the day to day and become comfortable with them. They become “the way we always do things.” They are the momentum that keeps us going, but may also be the weight that may be holding us back. The long and winding road that we travel when a different path may lead us to more: success, alternatives, opportunities, results, profits …
The Long and Winding Road: Time to Check Your Location
Today, your organization may need to take the opportunity to check out its destination and see if there is another route it can take to get where it intends to go. Things change: Our environments; our resources; our customers; the marketplace; everything. If our organizations don’t change, or at least check to see if there is a need to adapt or look for a better route, then there is a risk that someone else will find a shorter, more effective route to reach your customer. Suddenly that customer you thought would always be there will go somewhere else.
Get your bearings. See if your destination—“where you want to go”—is still your destination and then see check your route. See if the directions you’ve been following still work. Is there a detour ahead? Do you need to stop and refuel? Get new directions? Pick up another driver or passenger? What do you need for this trip to be successful? The road may be long and winding still, but make sure it is the right road and recognize the curves, the geography, and the scenery that is ahead.
Copyright ©2007 Lea A. Strickland, F.O.C.U.S. Resources, Inc.
All Rights Reserved