The shortest distance between two points is a straight line.
Somewhere around the time I was seven or eight, I remember waking up to a ’snow day,’ and the celebration began, ’no school.’ Looking out to the front yard I saw it completely covered with snow. There were no footprints, the yard was pristine.
It wasn’t long until I was dressed in winter clothes and headed out to the yard to play. For some reason I decided to walk the edge of the yard to one corner as I had the idea to stomp out a straight path from one corner to the next.
At the initiation point I picked out an object across the yard and was determined to make the straightest path I could.
As I walked I stopped along the way just to glance at my path. It looked good, until the end. When I reached my destination I took a hard look back to the beginning point and there wasn’t a straight line but one filled with small ‘zigs and zags.’ Each time I stopped to glance at the past set a new beginning was established from that point.
I was determined to make a straighter path, so I walked around the permitter to the original starting point. This time after starting I don’t take intermittent stops to look back but rather kept my eyes on the desired destination.
Arriving at the finish spot I turn and saw a much straighter line.
There are times when you are forced to make stops while in route to a destination…they should not change your course.
Here are some leadership principles I was able to glean from remembering that snow day.
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."