Got Direction? Use a Compass not a Map

Love Seth Godin’s recent post, The Map has been Replaced by the Compass.   He says it so well.

“The map keeps getting redrawn, because it’s cheaper than ever to go offroad, to develop and innovate and remake what we thought was going to be next. Technology keeps changing the routes we take to get our projects from here to there. It doesn’t pay to memorize the route, because it’s going to change soon.

The compass, on the other hand, is more important then ever. If you don’t know which direction you’re going, how will you know when you’re off course?

And yet…

And yet we spend most of our time learning (or teaching) the map, yesterday’s map, while we’re anxious and afraid to spend any time at all calibrating our compass.”

Rebecca and I have spent almost 20 years working with organizations to set their  direction — we’ve called it direction planning for most of those years (although the term strategic planning keeps sneaking in as it is more familiar in most organizations).  Seth is so right, setting direction (often with a vision of a preferred future state) is key to any journey and continues to guide the path taken.  Thanks for this post, Seth.

One thought on “Got Direction? Use a Compass not a Map

  1. Kim Silk

    I agree, Jane – another fantastic post from Seth Godin.

    I think that this hold true as well for personal and professional development. When it comes to career planning, conventional wisdom has been to have a five-year plan. However, those of us who are mid-career and later know that those plans most often don’t pan out. As John Lennon said, life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.

    I like the idea of using a compass, rather than a map. Maps get out of date so quickly, while a compass remains true and unbiased. A compass will give you a sense of direction, and yet allow for the unexpected, and my personal favourite, serendipity, to alter your course.

    Thanks for the pointer to Seth’s post, Jane!

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