Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The Trailblazer's Story...

Trailblazers don't know the route until after the journey is complete. Follow the most experienced trailblazer as they pick their way through the unknown, and you quickly realize that every decision is a potential mistake a potential path to failure. Even a long series of steps that appear to be moving them closer to their final goal may ultimately dead end with an impasse, followed by backtracking and reconsideration of previously rejected paths.

This isn't to say that a trailblazer's past performance is worthless information or that their experiences and the skill sets they develop don't help them succeed. Rather, it is a reminder that while skill and experience contributes to the multitude of good decisions and small victories that contribute to a successful outcome, no single step or set of steps along the way accurately predicts a successful outcome. Trailblazing is a messy business.

However, if you look at their journey backwards, from the end to the beginning, you will see a different story. Looking backwards, you see the good decisions and the right steps taken not the false starts, missed turns and dead ends. Looking backwards tells you a clean story of a journey all but guaranteed to succeed.

So, which view do you chose? Do you choose the clean end-to-beginning view or the messy beginning-to-end view?

I prefer the messy view. First, because it lets me see more about the trailblazer's decision process how they think, how they get themselves into and out of trouble and how they handled set backs. Second, because it reminds me that success is a story that more-often-then-not is incomplete and more-often-still is a work of fiction, an outright lie.

When you take the clean view, all you see is the lie and lies are not going to help you find your way out of the woods.

I think the same is true for leaders.

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Take care and enjoy...

John

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