We know that life is a journey. Our friendships are journeys. Every time we learn something it’s a journey. We think we understand it, then we keep going, then we get confused again. Then we emerge out of this dark valley of confusion into a new plane and plateau of understanding.
And the reason we say that life is a journey is we know that life is up and down. And the defining characteristic of a journey is journeys are curvilinear. They go up and down. So business says you want a journey? That’s life. Business is about linear progress. Business insists on linearity through control and budgeting and analytic planning business is constantly asking people to generate and then implement against linear plans.
Imagine going to your boss and saying, “Hey boss, I got this great plan. For the next five years we’re gonna achieve a lot of progress but we’re gonna be going up and down.” You might get yourself fired. But, you know, we now have crises. We now go up and down not every ten years but every ten weeks or every ten days. A tsunami here, a Greek bond crisis here, protests in markets that you thought were stable. One thing after another. We are in an up and down world. So we need to get back to journeying again and seeing that not just life but business is a journey.
And if you see business as a journey and your performance as a journey and leadership as a journey, we will get good at the ethic of journeying – being good at creating the resiliency required to keep your fee on the ground in an up and down journey. And also really understand the source of progress and sticking with something. The sense of purpose and mission and values that propel us in a world where we can no longer superimpose a linear plan but must figure out a way to get back to journeying again.
In Their Own Words is recorded in Big Think’s studio.
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