Are you focussed too much on the destination or is it more about the journey for you?

My colleague and I have been working with two teams of senior executives from different organisations. Both are in the midst of change and have been re-setting their direction as a result.

Both organisations have a vision, although as is often the case these could be described as aspirational and lacking clarity. Indeed, as we took them through an initial exercise, it became obvious that each person’s interpretation of the vision differed quite considerably from the ‘official’ meaning!

We provided them with a space to create a life-size representation of their organisation’s world – to express where they are as a team in relation to each other & the market in which they work, where they are heading and the challenges to be faced.

Throughout the session and in a state of play, the teams explored metaphors such as tribes, rivers, mountains, forests & walls, each representing very real factors they engage with every day.

By placing themselves at the heart of these 3D maps, the teams gained a new perspective, enabling them to see where they are and where they are going with a shared sense of clarity.

However, as both of these experiences unfolded, we noticed something rather interesting. Both teams approached the exercise in their own unique way, yet both represented their territory as a linear journey.

It had a start point, a place where they were moving away from, and an end point, where the vision had been reached. The teams placed themselves between these two points, somewhere on a journey between the place they had left and the one they are heading towards.

Yet in both cases, this simply didn’t feel right. The representation was static and suggested all would be great when they reached the end. We all have been on such journeys and find we leave before we reach our destination, or perhaps something changes and a new course is fixed as we seek out that holy grail – the company vision!

So this had me wondering. Was this the same conundrum as someone who wants to be happy in two months time and seeks a coach to help them achieve this, whilst all the time missing the point that they can simply be happy today?

What if we are placing too much emphasis as individuals on the organisation’s vision, the outcome or goal? What would it be like if we simply understood the identity of the organisation, what it stood for and how it wanted to conduct business. Then we could refocus our attention on being the best we can be for today and not seek to be ‘happy’ tomorrow.