At the end of every year people talk about all the things they really wanted to do (but didn’t get done) and at the beginning of every year they talk about all the things they’re really going to do. Why the gap?
In the absence of a clear new path, everyone inevitably defaults to what has worked for them up to that point. For most people this means that when things get really busy they are going to do what has worked for them in the past because this involves the least amount of risk and requires the least amount of effort.
Organizations want exciting things to happen. Individuals are often given vague goals of what that excitement is supposed to look like without a clear path of execution, support and accountability. It’s a clear case of “On the folly of rewarding A, while hoping for B.” (Download the PDF here).
One of the ways around this is to create a clear roadmap that outlines what exactly will be done, by whom, when and how the results will be assessed after the fact. This shouldn’t be confused with a wordy strategic document that needs a designated reading time.
A good way to think of this roadmap is to compare it to good GPS instructions. Bad instructions have too many built in assumptions that lead to reversion (ie: I know it said that, but it can’t mean that, so I’ll go this way because I know it). Good instructions are clear to the point that you almost think that they are providing too much information.
Traveling in new territory whether it be physical, psychological or organizational requires a clear roadmap in order to make sure you get where you’re planning to go. What will yours look like?