Or The gulf between what we want and where we are
‘A plane is on the wrong course 90% of the time’
I was reminded of this nugget of wisdom today, while assessing where I’m at, where I’m going, where I said I wanted to go, and the habits that help or hinder my progress.
Of course aeroplanes normally arrive at their destination, which I find comforting. They do so because pilots regularly check against where they said they wanted to go, and adjust accordingly.
I know this probably sounds obvious, but I think we often neglect to check our course, and steer. I know that although I know it, I need reminding regularly. That’s ok, we are human and mortal. But that’s why it’s important to embed compass setting and evaluation into what we do: personally, in our teams, in our organisations, in our relationships. That doesn’t mean just looking at our vision statement once a year, or setting new goals on New Year’s Eve. It means measuring our progress against what we said we would do, daily, perhaps even hourly. At every team meeting. Have a relationship evaluation every month. Hard wire tight feedback loops into your organisation, and make sure that feedback is heard and welcomed. Even if just for a few minutes.
Appreciate and celebrate what is working well, be honest and willing to hear and adapt to what would benefit from change, even if it might be challenging. Value dissenting voices as a sign that someone probably cares. Accept that being off course is ok, as long as we know that we are, and respond. Know that the gulf between where we want to be, and where we are now are, can be a source of immense frustration, which can divert a lot of energy. Know that in each moment we can revert to the course.
Or as a friend likes to say, ‘Just stick with the plan’. Know when you are not; know when you need to change the plan; notice what stands between you and your plan, especially your habitual patterns. And keep on just sticking with the plan. Because doing what we say that we intend to do, is about integrity. Perhaps even manifesting our dreams, and doing what we think matters, is about integrity. Perhaps navigating the cross winds of our distractions and personal hurdles, difficult thought it may be, might be experienced as an act of kindness.
Sociocracy, like Agile management and other systems, ensures that we build that dynamic steering into our work, and also ensures that all voices can meaningfully participate and help to steer, and co-operatives and other forms of organisational democracy naturally encourage diversity of input, which can be invaluable for plotting the right course, if harnessed usefully.
Set compass, make sure you will check it again:
How often? Who? How?
Go > Check compass > Learn & change course >
Accept and let go > Go > Repeat
And remember, even aeroplanes are on the
wrong course most of the time.