A GPS device. Mine is a TomTom, a gift from my son a few years ago, which plugs in to a power outlet in the cab of my Ranger. Admittedly I don’t use it much except when I am going somewhere I’ve not been before.
Let’s tie this in to my posts in this series. I’ve been writing and posting about vision, about setting a destination and a direction for your company or organization. The same thing happens with a GPS. It will not tell you where you should be going although it will help you search general destinations. No, you need to know your destination and then enter the coordinates, address, or identity into the device.
There are no devices which will automatically tell you what your destination is. That is up to you. So, you enter it into the GPS and press the button to continue. The system then does something marvelous. It finds out where you are and plots the course from here to there.
You have to find out too. Knowing where you are is only one part of the equation. You must know where you are BEFORE you can plot a course. That is the next step in effectively leading your company, organization, or department.
Assume nothing. Even if you think you know, assume nothing. Check and recheck. Follow the ABC’s of effective management:
Assess your present situation inside and outside the organization. What are your staffing strengths and weaknesses? What challenges and opportunities do you face right now? What is your competition doing? How is the economy in general and specifically where you are? Using the SWOT technique, determine your organization’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (challenges). Stop what you’re doing. Look around to see what can be seen. Don’t just look for evidence to reinforce and support your preconceived notions. Look to discover what is really going on. Listen to what you hear. Again, don’t just listen for things to support what you think you know. And don’t do so just once. The GPS suggests you log on and get updated maps from time to time. The principle applies here too. Effective leadership demands that you understand the times and everyone knows that times change.
Believe what you find out. I know you think you know better but you really do need to accept the findings. Cynicism has risen in the workforce because of disbelief. Employees do not believe employers listen to them. Employers do not believe what their employees tell them. Do not rely on written assessments alone. Get out from behind desks and paper. See for yourself. Have confidence in your own powers of observation and understanding.
Change what needs to be changed. I’ll talk about this more in the coming posts, but assessments and analysis are meaningless unless and until some relevant action follows.
Assess, Believe, Change.
Once the GPS knows where you are, it can tell you how to get where you want to go. But it cannot do so until the present location is known and you have confidence in it. You can’t either.