I am listening to How Successful People Think by John C. Maxwell. It is an interesting listen, and I am finding that many of the concepts resonate with me and are reflected in how I operate my business.
In particular Maxwell’s idea of “strategic thinking is the bridge that links where you are to where you want to be.” As a strategic thinker (and someone who uses pictures and images to focus on), Maxwell’s visual of the bridge works really well for me.
I’ve spent the last three months defining how I am going to move from where I currently am to where I want to be by the end of 2017: building the “bridge” to use Maxwell’s term. The end result of this process is having a clear strategic action plan that will guide the work I do in the coming 12 months and ultimately beyond that.
If I were to marry Maxwell’s visual of the bridge with my own idea of how my progress is measured and tracked throughout the year, I’d envision a bridge that was in the process of being built: One beam and board at a time. And since I think in pictures, the bridge that comes to mind is the one that spans Kanaka Creek near the Fraser River in my local community.
For me the planning work that I have done in the last three months defines how I will move from A to B and what values, beliefs, intentions will guide my direction are the foundational structure of this bridge. They are the upright beams that have been pounded into the riverbed, the structural pieces that frame the bridge and make it secure.
The boards that straddle this framework and create the foundation upon which I move forward across the bridge are the completed action steps I’ve outlined in the plan. As each one is completed, a new board is laid down that allows me to move forward; one step closer to the outcomes I’ve envisioned for myself.
Board by board, step by step, I can see myself moving confidently towards the results I’m looking to achieve. I know where I am going. I’ve thought through each action step carefully and critically. I am ready to proceed with my eyes’ wide open, ready to adapt, flex, and stretch.
I know that when something doesn’t go according to plan that I will still be able to safely cross my bridge. The steps between boards may not be as evenly spaced as hoped – I might have to stretch my gait - but the boards will be there leading me to the end results I have envisioned.
Are you ready to step confidently into 2017? Do you have a clearly defined plan for your bridge to your envisioned future? If not, I challenge you to ask yourself “why not?” and to figure out your next steps. Share your insights, observations, and questions in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you.