Monday, July 19, 2010

Google maps

While taking a couple days in Minneapolis with my husband to celebrate our 26th wedding anniversary, I realized... I love my Garmin!  (Yes, I love my husband, too.)  But my Garmin... knows where I want to go and how to get there from where I am.  And Garmin will even direct me in an Australian accent, if I choose!
After we checked in to our hotel, we decided to visit one of my favorite stores in the area (IKEA).  We jumped into the car, told Garmin where we wanted to go, and we were there just a few minutes later.  When we left the store, it occurred to us that we still needed Garmin to get back.  It was only 2 roads and about 10 minutes, but we still needed the directions.  Because we were only interested in getting from point A to point B, we never saw the big picture.  Our attention was only focused on the directions, not the journey.  Where was our destination in relation to other destinations we wanted to choose?  Were they close?  Were they far?
In these days of Garmin and Google Maps, it's easy to get from point A to point B.  The trouble is that we're often not seeing the big map.  Sometimes that's true in our leadership.  We're so focused on meeting a goal (sales, number of members, pay check, earning an incentive, etc.) that we're not seeing the big picture.  We forget about other's wants and needs to focus on our own.  We meet one goal only to find out that we have detours elsewhere.  Sometimes our batteries die or we lose our satellite.  We forget about the atlas.
As a leader, you become someone else's map.  Will you only direct them from A to B?  Or will you help them see the bigger picture?  Will you find out if they only want to get from A to B?  Or whether they would like to stay at A or go to C, D & E?  You need to help them look at the big map to see where they ultimately want to go.
Of course, that means you need to be familiar with the roads.  The best way, is to drive them yourself.  You become familiar with the potholes and the rest stops.  You can help to steer them in a more suitable direction.  You become a much better resource for those who look to you for guidance.
Stay connected to your satellite. Know your goals. Get some education.
You also need to keep your batteries charged.  What electrifies you in leadership?  What excites you in what you do?  Are you doing it?  Enough of it?
Will you be a Google Map?  Or will you be an atlas?  Either way, you are welcome to use the Australian accent!

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