Recently I was working with a leader who was doing his best in challenging circumstances, but feeling under pressure because of lack of clarity as to what was really expected of him. He knew the big picture, but in the detail things were unclear, making it difficult for him to pick his way through the maze of challenges and tasks facing him every day.
In understanding his challenges I was reminded about the concept of ‘target fixation,’ one cause of accidents amongst inexperienced motorcyclists. It’s a great analogy for understanding something about businesses too. It goes something like this. The rider enters a bend on the wrong line, tracking a little too wide and therefore heading towards the side of the road. What he wants above all else is to miss that sign post… but it fills his mind and vision and his focus and moments later – crash! It’s a paradox that focusing on the one thing you want to avoid actually draws you to it!
As a motorcyclist I have learned over the years to use target fixation positively – that is, to focus on where I do want to go, not on what I want to avoid. Even after many years as a motorcyclist I’m still fascinated at how my bike will always go in the direction in which I’m looking, as my mind and body combine together to assess, select and ride the best line for the circumstances. Looking ahead enables me to select the right line, speed and road position to deal with a hazard safely. It’s not enough just to know the final destination, I need to focus on the route too.
In business, it’s much more effective to navigate the challenges, complexities and ambiguities you encounter when you have a clear vision of where you’re heading, and knowing the best line and approaches to get you there. It’s not enough just to know the ‘final destination;’ ones attention is easily drawn to obstacles and distractions, which easily absorb both time and energy and take you off route, making it difficult to get to where you’re going. One also needs to address the day-to-day challenges in the light of the final destination, constantly looking where at you’re going to navigate effectively to success.
At emenex we use the extraMILETM process to help our clients not only to clarify their vision and objectives, but also to navigate their way through the complexities of business life to their intended destination; are you ready for the journey? Get in touch to see how we could help your organisation navigate a clear path to your destination.