Learning From a Different Place – Part 4
David Freund, Chief Leadership Officer

The Law of Navigation has always intrigued me. Perhaps it’s my love for boats and water, or the thought of planning a trip without roads to follow. Navigation has so many additional variables, which add to the excitement. The Law of Navigation is law number four in The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership and, by author John Maxwell’s admittance, is a law he struggles with. John is the idea guy with energy and excitement, but as his subtitle reads, “Anyone can steer the ship, but it takes a leader to chart the course.” John intentionally surrounds himself with people who are great at charting the course.

Ten years ago, I saw The Law of Navigation with a very narrow focus. My focus was on a specific destination and the various waypoints needed to arrive at that destination. Today, I have a much broader understanding of this great law. Just as a captain of a vessel needs to look at weather conditions, tide charts, and availability of fuel and provisions, a leader needs to take the time to address all the other factors that may affect the success of their navigation. In The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership book, John lays out his “plan ahead” acrostic:

Predetermine a course of action.
Lay out your goals.
Adjust your priorities.
Notify key personnel.

Allow time for acceptance.
Head into action.
Expect problems.
Always point to the successes.
Daily review your plan.

As I help my coaching clients navigate, I help them see the variables in the journey to their destinations. Have they fully determined where they want to go? Have they articulated the why behind the what? Have they given people the time to accept the goals and adjust priorities? Have they asked themselves what could go wrong and built in contingency plans? Are they celebrating small wins along the way? Lastly and perhaps most important, will this destination move them closer to their life goals?

My personal application of The Law of Navigation is now built around this question, “Will this action, decision, or choice further my why?” If the answer is no, a course correction is needed. My intrigue for this law has grown into a real appreciation and a desire to become a much better navigator. John said it best, “Balancing optimism and realism, intuition and planning, faith and fact can be very difficult. But that’s what it takes to be effective as a navigating leader.”

What are you doing to apply The Law of Navigation to your leadership?