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Not long after getting her driver’s license, my daughter was driving her car in town. She was on her way home from school when the serpentine belt broke. Although the car continued to run, there was no power steering. If you have ever tried to steer a car with power steering when the power steering is not functioning, you know how difficult it is. She was retelling this story the other night and was recalling how she was unable to turn the wheel (and she is pretty strong). I know it can be difficult, but she should still be able to drive/steer even without power steering. Finally, it dawned on me, and I asked her, “Were you moving?” She was not. She was trying to turn the stationary wheels by brute force to aim where she wanted to go. “If that ever happens again,” I told her, “start moving and then turn the wheel. It’s much easier to turn if you are already moving.”
Think of your organization as a ship on the water. To effectively navigate your ship, you need to know where you want it to go, and you must put it in motion. If either component is missing, you will be “dead in the water” or wandering the vast seas aimlessly. Those are not sustainable business practices. Without strategy, the destination is unknown. Without motion, there is no ability to steer.
Related: Who’s Steering the Ship?
Strategy or planning should be done before launching. However, now is much better than “later” and infinitely better than “never.” The life of your organization (not to mention your livelihood and that of your employees) depends on effective planning. Would you ever embark on a voyage as the ship’s captain without charting your course on a map and ensuring you have all the tools needed to make course corrections along the way? That would be foolhardy at best and most likely a deadly course of action. If your company or nonprofit is the vehicle you have chosen to maneuver through your career, planning should be just as important to you in your voyage.
There are all kinds of resources, tools, methodologies, and coaches to help you identify and chart a course to where you want to go. Choose one. Ultimately, you need to know and operate out of your “why” so that you can reach your “ideal destination.” Whatever system you use (and I strongly encourage you to find and use a system like iNautilus™), it should help you clarify your purpose and vision along with a well-thought-out path to get there.
Strategy without motion, however, is merely wasted ink on paper. Offices and board rooms abound with m