There are lots of ideas about leadership and where leadership should come from. I believe leadership in general, and being Chief in particular, is a choice available to everyone. But with today’s pace of change and increasing uncertainty, we could all use a tool to help guide us to be our best. That’s why I created the Power Compass.
Growing up, we didn’t travel much. My dad worked hard and so when it was time for vacation, the last thing he wanted to do was pile the family in the car for a long drive to a new sight or city. He just wanted to take it easy and relax. Rather than taking extravagant vacations, which we couldn’t afford, we took small day trips or simply drove to a familiar place using a different route. My favorite was a farm 20 miles from home that served the best ice cream on the planet. Maybe ice cream led to my love of roadmaps and my understanding of the importance of a compass.
Consider roadmaps. Your driving preferences may change during different times and under different circumstances, but a roadmap will always offer alternatives. At times the most direct way from point A to point B may not be the best way for you. Sometimes you want to go fast. Other times you may want to slow down and enjoy the ride. Or, you might want to take a detour and travel through certain communities to reach your destination. And sometimes you just want to take a new road. When things don’t go as planned, a roadmap gives you alternatives to fall back on. And tomorrow, when both your starting point and destination change, a roadmap will continue to serve you well.
Early in my career I relied on what I had learned about roadmaps as an analogy for life. I believed that no matter where I wanted to go there would always be a road to get me there. But the analogy let me down when I found myself wanting to go places where others hadn’t gone before—where there was no paved road. It was then that I came to appreciate a smaller component normally found in the corners of most roadmaps. I came to truly appreciate the compass.
I learned that a compass is really the best tool to use when you know what general direction you’d like to go, but you are faced with the task of blazing a new trail. You might get advice and counsel from others, but getting to this new place will have a lot more to do with your ability to do things your way. You find that you make better choices and are more successful as you get better connecting what you do to who you are. This is where your true power comes from.
I have found great utility in the link between choices and a compass. In fact, I developed the extensively road-tested Power Compass to Be Chief to help lead you, your team, and your organization to success—yes, even in tough times. Enabling a team of Chiefs starts with you.
(This story was excerpted from Be Chief: It’s a Choice, Not a Title, slated for September 2018 publication. Pre-publication book orders can be made on Amazon starting April 1.)