Have You Charted the Course?

By: David Freund, Chief Leadership Officer

I love boats, and I love being out on the water. There is something about traveling on the water where there aren’t any roads. I have been privileged to take a few cruises, and I love to look at the bridge on the ship and look at the helm station with all of its controls and navigation aids. I am just fascinated by navigation and charting a course from one destination to another. Setting waypoints to guide the vessel safely to our destination, through often treacherous waters.

When navigating, you must use the tools available. Charts allow you to see water depth and hazards such as shoals.  Marker buoys identify safe passageways through difficult areas. Red markers should be on your right or starboard side when returning to the sea. Green markers are on your left.

As leaders, we need to chart the course for our team. We need to see beyond the horizon using whatever aids we have, to plot the shortest, but also the safest course to our given destination. In order to do this well, we need to be prepared. Here are some thoughts to keep in mind:

  • Set aside time for focused thinking and planning. You can’t rush the process.
  • Understand where you are before trying to develop a strategy. You can’t plot a course of action without knowing where you are. When making this determination involve others. You need help seeing your blind spots.
  • Develop goals that are realistic and measurable. They need to be challenging and motivating for you and your team.
  • Clarify goals and open up lines of communication with your team. Real two-way communication about successes and struggles.
  • Identify possible obstacles. What might go wrong, and can we plan for it?
  • Budget your cost and time by scheduling everything you can and setting deadlines.
  • Study the results. Evaluation prevents stagnation and exaggeration. It’s a leader’s job to clarify reality for the team.

Remember, anyone can steer the ship, but it takes a leader to chart the course. Will you begin to chart the course for your team? Please join Marisa Norcross and me on episode number 64 of The Next Page podcast as we discuss this topic in detail.

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