golden gate bridge with fog

Perfect Coordinates Don't Prevent Drift, Adjusting Direction Along The Way Does

Many timid entrepreneurs are fearful of launching an endeavor without perfect direction on how it should happen and where these activities should drive to. They want it perfect before launching, and they don't want an imperfect project going out. But this undesired imperfection is the required step for achieving excellence.

Others want it all figured out from the beginning because they know they'll never come back and adjust it once they've moved onto the next project. But, they fail to know or articulate the direction for those moving it along. These leaders fear building bricks (small projects) that contribute towards a future wall (initiative), will cause alignment issues if the wall is not yet clearly defined. 

In both these scenarios, people incite the analogy (as a cover for their hiding) of a jet flying across the country from one place to another is elicited. The point being, if you start a journey a few degrees off, over time, you'll end up in a completely different location upon arrival. And, this is a good point worth pondering.

The problem with this incomplete visualization is the assumption that the plane can't monitor and adjust the coordinates along the way (and that the destination is the point of the trip). Perfect coordinates don’t prevent drift, regular checkpoints in combination with the destination coordinates do. 

In modern aircraft technology, airplanes do this automatically. In our business, we must build systems to do the same. And as the leader of the organization, the systems starts and ends with us. If the trip is an experiment, the destination is less important than what we learn from the journey.

And regardless of how confident we are, we entrepreneurs will never have clearly defined and articulated destination coordinates. It always changes and adjusts as we travel forward. For this reason, a guiding force along the way is just as important as a defined destination.

Guidance In The Unknown

When driving a car through dense fog on the road, it’s challenging to see anything. Sometimes the only thing we can see is the road stripes just a few feet from our window. To prevent drifting into the other lane and going off the road, we' keep our eyes on this guiding boundary. Choosing timeless values to align ourselves with will factor into how effective they are in these scenarios.

We ought to spend the time discovering, knowing, and articulating our vision and guiding values, but the reality is we usually don't do this and often find ourselves in the middle of nowhere. 

Small business owners may fear imperfection & abandonment, but they're truly afraid of losing control and letting go. In these cases, They're simply using explanations and metaphors to hide behind their decision.

Facing The Same Challenge

As I went through the exercise of writing this article, the message spoke to me just as much as I want it to speak to you. This article has a nuanced and refined slicing of a topic, but it's made it challenging for me to effectively communicate. 

I've accepted this article (as well as many others) may be imperfect, and possibly wrong in several ways. But, the process of writing and publishing has illuminated ideas, refinement, and extrapolation that would not have come out otherwise. I plan to revisit it later, like all my articles, to reflect and improve. 

Moving forward with this blog post experiment merged with time will provide me the ingredients to evolve this message into what I want it to be without knowing exactly what that is today. 

Actionable Insights

This provides us both with an opportunity to anchor deep into the fundamentals, experiment with different opportunities, and recognize our own limitations as a visionary to those who follow.

Here are four directives to help us move forward when we're struggling to do so confidently.
  1. Don't be afraid to start imperfect when you have guiding values to course correct along the way. 
  2. Focus on improving the foundational pieces you know will contribute to whatever direction you take. 
  3. Embrace the idea this trip may very well be an exploratory one, not a journey towards the target destination you're not yet sure about.
  4. Set and move towards a vision even when you're not ready to fully commit. Doing this real-time exercise provides an opportunity to audit your vision. 

Accept much of our work is an experiment, and leverage the insights learned from it to succeed. 


Hero Photo by Joshua Earle on Unsplash

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