“The journey of a thousands miles begins with one step.” — Lao Tzu
Although beautiful, this quote is thoroughly incomplete.
True, our journeys do begin with a single step, but then we must begin with another and then another. Day after day after day.
But most importantly, the journey must have a destination. Without one we will not know which direction to walk, or whether we ever arrive.
Clearly this is a problem with personal goals. Losing weight, making more money. Without defining a terminus, we are forever wondering.
But when talking about groups of people, whether in sport, government, a single project or an entire organization, the issues multiply exponentially.
Enter North Stars. Concise, written-down, published destinations:
Win the 40+ Soccer League.
Provide affordable, quality health care to all Americans.
Perform frictionless digital transactions.
Take 50% share from Google.
These provide powerful guidance:
- They focus the energies of all of the actors in the the same direction.
- They provide clarity when issues arise.
- They illuminate answers when making tough decisions.
- They enable the managers to chunk up their respective responsibilities.
- Those chunks then provide the day-to-day clarity-of-task for each individual journeyman.
- Is this task moving us forward, in the correct direction?
It certainly takes effort and consensus, but as competing forces reveal themselves these beacons will continually prove their worth.
To get someplace we must first define where it is we are going. So go North and conquer!