WW#011: Is it the Destination or the Journey?

When you’re going somewhere you’ve never been before, do you plan your journey beforehand, looking at the most efficient route, booking your tickets (or making sure the car’s not going to break down halfway down the motorway), or do you just wing it, leave the house and trust that the Travel Gods will smile upon you and you’ll get there eventually?

That might seem like a ridiculous question, but if you apply the metaphor to your own business, you’d be surprised how many people are travelling without a map in a beaten-up old jalopy, or are rocking up at the airport, hoping that someone will point them towards a plane heading in the right direction.

As counterintuitive as it seems, focusing solely on the destination is never the best strategy.

  • Obviously a leader has to consider results – you have to know where the company is going, you have to know what the future looks like and you have to have a thorough understanding of what the key numbers are in your organisation. But do you ever think about how you’re going to achieve those results?
  • Maybe it’s time to stop thinking about the destination and concentrate on the journey instead. I don’t think I can ever say this enough: you can’t just think about the What, you have to consider the How. It’s critical: time after time I see the frustration that comes from only focusing on the end product, only to find that the final outcome isn’t anything like what was intended.
  • In a car, you could seek to use technology such as sat nav to ensure you’re able to get to your destination with the most up-to-date information on traffic on that day. The same should be applied to your business: make sure your systems and tools are allowing your company to navigate in the here and now.

How are your team working? Do you have the systems and technology to get visibility to see how you’re your team are performing?

  1. Take time to reflect on how you can change your own outlook, as well as the company culture. Are you doing everything you can do for your team members to help them perform at their best level? How do you translate your goals and targets into something actionable for them? Have they got the right tools in place? Is the company environment supportive enough for people to do their jobs?
  2. It’s not easy to turn a critical eye on either yourself or your methodology. But be brutal. Ask yourself the difficult questions: have you got the right team in place? Are key pieces of strategy falling through the cracks because you’ve got tunnel vision about who’s doing what?
  3. When it comes to progress and growth, it’s not just about unlocking the potential of your business, you need to know how to unlock the potential of each member of your team and allow them to achieve their own results. Commit to creating both performance and personal development plans for everyone in the company, and don’t assume that one plan fits all – what works for one, won’t work for everyone (and if it does, maybe it’s time to introduce some diversity).

If there’s a disconnect in what you would like vs what you need to do to make it happen, is there another approach needed for the stage your business is now at?

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James Potten


On a mission to democratise entrepreneurship by providing access to best practice, helping startups sustainably scale up.