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Maps Encourage Boldness And Make Anything Seem Possible

Mark Jenkins. "Maps encourage boldness. They're like cryptic love letters. They make anything seem possible." [Motivational Quotes of the Day]

What does Mark Jenkins the author adventure travel book The Hard Way know about business strategy? Probably very little, but as a travel writer he knows the importance of a good plan, accurate maps, and clear objectives. How else would he reach every corner of the world and live to write about it?

If your organization wants to produce sustainable profits, you must learn from this adventurer and do the same:

  1. Develop a clear plan. A plan is a method for achieving an end which describes where you want to go, and when you want to be there. If you expect others to follow you, they must know what you will do first, second, ..., and last to reach a certain point. They must also know where they contribute to the plan. Once you have a plan, you'll know what maps you'll need to guide your journey.
  2. Create accurate maps. Maps describe something through a series of measures that can be oriented by physical landmarks to navigate from one point to another. By creating a baseline of current performance measures, you'll be able to determine how far you've come with you're current plans and where adjustments are necessary to stay on track. Accurate maps can be passed along so others can make the same journey toward similar objectives.
  3. Observe clear objectives. You'll never know you've been there unless you decide where you want to go. Objectives are detailed descriptions of where you would like to be in the future, the result of your actions today. Develop objectives as a team with input from all levels of your organization (and from your buying customers who will benefit from the output you produce.) In the beginning your objectives won't be clear, but a general direction is better than no direction at all.

These steps form a self-correcting loop (plan -> map -> observe -> [...]), you don't have to start with great intensity because as you repeat the process you create additional detail. For example, if you live in South Africa and want to visit Spain, you know your journey will take you North, and you may need maps of the African and European continent. Introduce a desired arrival date and you will observe a land-route may take too long, so you now use flight schedules for your map.

A great map for corporate adventures is a map that forecasts your desired income against profits for the next five years. Share this map with decision makers in your company, inspire bold actions by asking "How can we do this?" If you treat your business like a journey, your people will stand with you as you lead. Where are you going, and how are you going to get there?

/ business-strategy | magic-one /

By Justin Hitt at October 29, 2003 12:27 PM  Subscribe in a reader


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