Years ago, I planned to drive down to Charleston, SC to visit my family after I completed the GRE. With little time to prepare, I packed just the essentials and didn’t print directions from Yahoo Maps. (This is before smartphones were everywhere.)
After finishing the exam, I hit the road to the coast. On the way, I dialed a friend’s number and jotted down directions.
Driving Without a Map
Five hours into what really should have been a three-hour drive, I realized something had gone very wrong:
“Welcome to Georgia”. I was supposed to be hours away from Georgia on the coast in Charleston.
How did this happen?
Complete exhaustion and lack of an actual map got the best (or worst) of me.
I ended up in unknown parts near Savannah Georgia with a low tank of gas. I was pooped and it was the middle of the night.
When I finally made it to Charleston well after midnight, I promised myself never to embark on a trip without a map in hand again.
I reneged on that promise. Well, sort of.
Leading Without a Strategic Map
I established my business with a destination in mind but no clear map of the routes by which to get there.
I navigated delays, indirect routes, and even some unexpected U-turns for my business. I pulled over for unnecessary distractions and took unintentional detours on long bumpy country roads instead of taking the freeway.
I’ve driven my company while lost, assuming I was heading for my destination when in fact I was moving in exactly the opposite direction.
There is no self-adjusting Google Maps app for the entrepreneurial journey. You can have the confidence that you’re on the right track and adapt to change if you map out a clear plan ahead of time — a “strategic map”!
The Importance of a Strategic Map
How about you? Are you on the right track, the fast track, to accomplishing your business goals?
After working with and for many companies that also didn’t have a map for their business, I truly believe that if I had known about strategic mapping, I could have saved them from taking the long way.
Lucky for you, I now make sure that I always have a strategic map in hand for my business and for yours too. Here’s why:
1. You Are Bound to Be Distracted
Whenever you’re en route to meet your business goals, hundreds of coaches and programs are vying for your attention. If you only have a destination in mind, any of these offerings can easily seem like the perfect route to take. Maybe they are, but without a clear strategic map, you can easily spend time and fuel what turns out to be only enticing diversions that don’t produce results.
Here’s a very real and recent example for you. I have been listening to BizChix for a long time now and I’ve always wanted to join their Mastermind program. I know that it will provide an amazing, unique opportunity for me and I know I will love the community there.
After a sales call and creating a list of pros and cons, I found myself on the confirmation page about to sign-up when I paused to return to my strategic map. I realized that the thing I needed most at that time to get me further along my route was visibility, not community, which I already had access to through other groups.
I still may join a BizChix Mastermind someday but for this leg of my journey, I have invested in what I need right now, not an opportunity that I may need down the road.
Do you know what you need for this leg of the journey? Are you investing in something that might come in hand later down the road and overlooking what you need to make it right now?
2. Failure Is Possible
Hard work and determination are attributes that are greatly needed as an entrepreneur, but you can’t accomplish anything by grit alone.
Dead ends, traffic jams, breakdowns, and detours can wear on any business owner or team member. The real possibility of failure reminds us not only to work hard but to work smart!
I’ve said this to myself and heard clients say the same: “If only I started with a strategic map earlier, I wouldn’t have gotten so distracted or taken so many wrong turns”. This is so true. A strategic map doesn’t ensure that you won’t hit some challenges or roadblocks along the way. It does prepare you to recalibrate and carry on with the next best route to meet your destination. It also provides you and your team with a resource to rely on when the unexpected comes up.
3. Setting Goals Isn’t Enough
I still don’t understand how every business owner I know (myself included) packs some type of navigational device for a road trip but not for their business. If I were to embark on a trip from my house to Seattle Washington without a map you’d wish me luck. You’d probably think I was either incredibly adventurous or a bit careless. With business, navigating without a map is more common than it should be.
Setting goals, creating to-do lists, and even having a mission, vision, and values are not enough to get places efficiently. Sure, it is possible to succeed. But, what if you could do it with a lot more confidence, solid decision-making, clarity, and smart work?
Strategic maps result in spending less unnecessary resources (like money, manpower, and time) and lead to more efficiency, success, profit, and scaling.
The best way to reach your destination, in business and in life, is to have a careful plan for your journey.
Ready to map out your custom, strategic map? With years of experience working with digital marketers, I’ve created the One Less Thing Map to simplify your CEO life so that you reach your vision without the burnout.
It’s time to have the confidence to reach your destination efficiently while hitting every milestone along the way.