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Mapping Your Plan Beyond the Compass

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy

Here’s an idea to help you gather all the facts in your problem-solving. Reading time 3:10.

         You’ve done the research. Your plan is set. Now it’s time to execute. You feel confident. You’ve done your homework.

     You launch and then you’re shocked to find out that your ground game is null and void. Your compass and your map somehow disagree with each other.

         How can that be? East on the compass doesn’t match up with east on a map. It can — and does– happen when you assume too much information. That’s why the most effective leaders challenge even their most basic assumptions to be even more productive and more accurate in gearing up their ground game.

          One glance at this map of the United States and you can clearly see that Nevada is EAST of California . Okay, so it follows therefore that Reno, Nevada should be east of Los Angeles, California. Ooops. Not really. Reno, NV is northWEST of Los Angeles.  Let’s take a look at the state of Florida and you can clearly see that Florida is east of Ohio. Okay, so it follows therefore that Tallahassee, Florida should be is east of Cleveland, Ohio. Ooops. Not really. Tallahassee, Florida is WEST of Cleveland.

                 Leaders Challenge Generalizations

Pacific Entrance to the Panama Canal is EAST of the Atlantic Entrance.

           Leaders don’t generalize. The most effective leaders I know always keep challenging  their assumptions.  They evaluate the specifics of a given situation. No matter how customary and routine  it seems  when solving a problem.  (Is 2+2 always 4?) They don’t assume that if they have 90 percent or more of the information they have the total story.

        That remaining 10 percent could be the difference between winning and losing.  Strategically. Rules can seemingly change overnight. What you thought was so — no longer is. You feel a bit like Alice in Wonderland falling through the rabbit hole. The rules you live by suddenly change drastically: The balls in her croquet game with the Queen become live hedgehogs.The mallets are live flamingos. Players play ALL  at once. No one waits their turn.

     Sounds like your last staff meeting, right? That’s why leaders have to be flexible in the way they gather and evaluate information. For example: On the face of it, the Pacific Ocean is west of the Atlantic Oceans. So it would seem that the Pacific entrance to the Panama Canal should be west of the Atlantic entrance. Ooops. Not really. The Pacific entrance is 27 miles EAST of the Atlantic Ocean’s entrance.

        Indeed, east is east and west and west is west MOST of the time, but not ALL of the time.  No wonder the most effective  leaders do more than simply collect information, generalize it and map it. They first determine their bearings and oriented themselves in ALL DIRECTIONS and then and only then launch their specific path–from point A to point B. Even down a rabbit hole and through the looking glass.

Today’s ImproveMINT

Guard against generalizing to keep your leadership thinking in mint condition.

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