“If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there.”
So wrote Lewis Carroll in Alice in Wonderland, showing his great ability to express profound truths with a few well-chosen words.
On any journey, if you just drive any road you come across, you’ll get somewhere – but will you know where you are? In education, if you simply study random topics you will undoubtedly learn something, but will it lead to any coherent body of knowledge on a given topic?
On any journey, one frequently comes up against traffic jams, requiring a decision: do I sit and stick it out, or respond to the situation and change route? The choice will depend on many variables, but one thing must be certain: what is the ultimate destination? Without clarity on that, any decision made en-route will only create the illusion of progress whilst potentially leading to a dead end.
When an organisation is confronted with change, it’s all too easy to be reactive and look for short-term solutions. What really matters is to be clear on the end goal, and make sure that every turn you take will take you one step closer to your final goal.
So what, then, of serendipity? Don’t amazing things sometimes happen through unexpected events? Yes they do, and it’s wonderful when that happens. Perhaps the final destination does need to change, but the principle remains the same: don’t be on any road going to an unspecified place; be clear on your destination, even if it has changed, so that all of your effort is directed towards getting there.
Is what you’re doing today moving you one step closer to your final goal? If not, what could you be doing differently?