The instructions were clear: to walk and make a straight path in a yard covered in snow you have to always look at your target and keep walking…don't stop. I remember hearing this as a child and begin to wait for a snow covered yard to prove the theory wrong.
It snowed…I walked…turning around occasionally to see if the path I was creating was straight. The segments looked straight, but upon reaching the target I realized I had created a line that zig-zagged across the yard.
I head back to the starting point going out of my way to leave enough undisturbed snow so that I can try their way.
Starting with my eyes on the target and keeping my eyes on the target I head out through the snow, never looking back until the destination. Then a look back revealed a straight line.
If you stop along the way and look back, your perspective changes, you are not focused on the target but the course history. There is a place for course corrections along the journey but they need to reference the destination not the initiation.
Here are some leadership principles that can be seen from this simple story:
- Decide where you are going. There is no way to lead a team unless you have researched and determined a desired outcome of a project or organization.
- Adjust the journey, make course corrections based on where you are and where you are going not on where you have been.
- Remember where you have been and let that help you determine your next steps without the history causing you to get off course.
- Celebrate the arrival. Once the destination has reached, now look back over the journey and celebrate the accomplishment.
The writer of Proverbs made this point in chapter 4: "Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you. Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure. Do not swerve to the right or to the left; turn your foot away from evil."