That is a quote from Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carrol.
I like the Yogi Berra version better. “If you don’t know where you’re going, you might wind up someplace else.” I don’t know if a famous person also said, “If you don’t know where you are, you don’t know where to turn next.” Maybe that’s just something that came out of my head. But, you’re getting the idea. Where are you going and where are you now
Those are the questions?
Are we there yet?
When our girls were young we lived in the western United States. Once or twice a year we would make the 1,600-mile trip back to Michigan to visit family. IN A TOYOTA! Averaging 50 miles per hour with stops, that was a 32-hour trip.
Within an hour of a very early departure time, from the back seat would come the question “Are we there yet?” After banning that question on the first trip, I needed to come up with a constructive alternative. Giving each girl a detailed map of our entire trip (in the days before Google Maps) I allowed them to ask, as many times as they wanted, “Where are we?”
In addition to becoming good map readers, it soon became apparent to them that this was going to be a long trip. The frequency of questions from the back seat dropped dramatically.
Years later, working with several clients who were making heroic efforts to become the best they could be, it became apparent to me they were asking the same question “Are we there yet?” Without any real understanding of their destination or where they were on their journey, they needed a map.
We began by describing a simple five-step map. I asked them to describe, for their business or focus, entry-level behaviors and skills all the way up to world class behaviors, skills, and impact. Now, we had a “map” and we could ask the next question “Where are we now?” It always amazes me how consistent they were identifying their current location along the journey once the journey was mapped out.
You Are Here
Once we had their “You are Here” marker, it was easy to identify the adjustments and improvements they needed to reach the next level of their journey. Once the next steps were identified, a realistic time frame for accomplishing the changes was also much clearer. And, just like our long-ago road trips, the anxiety levels dropped, everyone focused on being productive in a reasonable amount of time. Soon enough we were once again asking, “Where are we now?” and mapping out our next steps.
Do you have a map?
Do you know where you are on the map? I’m part of a team creating an app to help leaders and teams determine what their journey looks like and where they are now. It can be thought of as a GPS for Leaders. I’ll keep you informed as we progress but you can start today. Describe your journey and figure out where you are today.