Some reflections on journeys

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Or perhaps a reflective journey

On Thursday and Friday last week I coached on the UCL Focus on Management Course, my fourth year being involved in this wonderful event. My reflections from two years ago still hold true. There is something about a room full of intelligent and expectant university students combined with a handful of new managers and a few nosy coaches that sets you up for an amazing two days that pass in a split second but feels like a lifetime.

So many discussions are had that touch on ideas and concepts that can change the way someone goes back to their workplace and manages their team. Although the course is all about managing teams, my reflections relate to journeys; whether life, career, intrepid or management ones.

Winding pathImage courtesy of WikiCommons

Don’t forget to prepare

(aka have a map)
We so often want to rush into a project or a journey that we don’t even stop to think about where we are heading or even why we are heading there. We’re excited, there’s a goal and let’s get there NOW!

So we start out and make up the route as we go along. This is fun and adventurous and often works out when there is only one or two of you, but once the group grows the preparation gets even more important. Even just taking a few minutes to make sure everyone is aware that YES, we have a map! is a great way to start.

Clear objectives give you a sense of direction

(aka know where you are on the map)
There is a sense of safety when people know where they are going and they believe someone has their back. A map is nice to have, but people also like to have an idea of where they are on the map and where the destination is. Having a clear purpose and objectives just puts everyone at ease, making the journey a much less stressful and more enjoyable one.

People aren’t looking for detailed plans and necessarily step-by-step guides, but they do want a rough idea of where they are heading and why.

The destination isn’t everything

(aka don’t fixate on the map)
Although embarking on a journey means there is a destination in mind, many people seem to think is it the only reason to get started. Once they reach the end they want to know if they got the right answer or got to the right place. So few people actually stop to enjoy the scenery along the way.

Sure, we may start a journey with the destination in mind, but the journey is just as important as the destination so slow down and watch and learn as you go.

If we don’t try, we don’t know

(aka sometimes we need to throw the map away)
With the fixation on the destination, and winning and getting there first, so few people are willing to experiment. We may like the idea of getting out of our comfort zone and doing big and bold things, but when the pressure comes on and there is a destination in mind we so easily go back to the tried and tested way.

Although the risk of  experimentation may seem large, the risk of doing the same thing each time is far greater.



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