Unbeknownst to many, there are two different Norths:
Geographical North & Magnetic North.
They’re similar, but they’re a couple of degrees off from one another.
Why does this matter?
Following one is much different (and much more difficult) than following the other. This is similar to the decisions you make when executing business strategy.
Think of your Magnetic North as “Society.”
The heavy, strong-armed influence that your community heaves onto your shoulders.
“You should do this. You should do that.” Sounds like a pile of should to me…
You can go ahead and forget all these “shoulds,” because more than likely, your geographical north is different than theirs.
Okay, now let’s take a look through our business binoculars to see exactly what that means.
Think of your Geographical North as your “Optimal Strategy”
You understand where society wants you and your company to go, but your geographical north is the strategy that will take you and your business where it actually needs to go.
By following it closely, you’ll learn how to appropriately treat people within your organization while presenting them with the opportunity to create business growth.
Touching base on your Geographical North has to be inserted into your organization’s operational DNA.
The Challenge for Your Business:
Set plans that are in alignment with the culture and mission, and learn how to drive the vehicle that will take you there. If you need help doing this, consider working with a business coach.
Why is This a Challenge?
Although your company’s mission and primary objective might seem obvious, in many cases it isn’t.
Many organizations have problems establishing what matters most, because they aren’t constantly “tapping their compass.”
They know they want (and need) to make money, but they struggle to figure out the best way to do it. If your mission is “Go make money, and don’t worry about people,” your organization will almost definitely sink.
If you have to be cutthroat, mismanage your employees, and botch numbers to get the results you’re looking for, you’re not leading your organization correctly. It’s time to make a course correction.
Here’s a Not-So-Fun Fact:
As an airplane flies, it’s only on course about 2% of the time.
It’s affected by wind, rain, and other external forces.
And sometimes the pilot has to sleep.
But when he wakes up, he inspects his dials, monitors the plane’s altitude, and checks in on the passengers.
When these obstacles arise, he makes adjustments in order to land the plane safely at the predetermined destination.
The same thing can be applied when executing your business strategy.
Sometimes you’ll need to take a break. Sometimes you’ll need to put out a fire with a client. Sometimes you’ll make mistakes.
But as long as you’re consistently tapping your compass & checking in on your strategy, you can discover the right professional adjustments that need to be made to reach your company’s objectives.
How Often Should I Revisit the Strategy?
To keep it simple: Weekly.
Every week, we need to ask ourselves these questions:
“How well are we standing on our core values?”
“How well are we doing what matters most?”
This weekly check-in helps give you a better understanding of the steady incline of the positive results and “good data.”
As your Geographical North develops, so will all aspects of your SWOT.
What is SWOT?
SWOT is a business acronym that stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.
If you don’t revisit your SWOT on a regular basis, you can’t properly assess opportunities as they come through the pipeline.
Look at it this way:
If you only monitor your SWOT every year (if ever again:), you could have been straying from your geographical north for most of that time period, and totally unaware… until it’s too late!
How I Approach Business Coaching for Calgary Companies
When I board “the plane,” I immediately incorporate world-class planning tools for the purpose of straightening their strategic trajectory. They have to get in a regular rhythm.
One of my clients was in the third quarter of their fiscal year.
As we gauged the achievement of their strategy, they were in the green, which was great!
But there was a significant gap between activity and results, and it was widening.
How We Straightened Them Out:
We took their initial strategy and placed it on the shelf.
We broke it down into division-specific plans:
“In each of these divisions, what has to happen in these last 15 weeks of the fiscal year?”
We made seven plans in these seven divisions that were specifically designed to close the gap. They had a 15-week race, they took a run at it.
They checked their compass and strategy every week, and in the end, they were a million dollars on the plus side instead of $2 MM in the red.
What’s your geographical north?
What are you doing to tap your compass?
Are you reviewing and revising your SWOT on a regular basis?
What course corrections are you making in order to close the gap between activities and results?