Where Are You Headed?

By George Black | Business Strategy

That’s the question I’ve asked my new clients and prospects for over 25 years. Before you read any further... 
What’s your answer to that question?
Quick! What pops into your head? Jot it down.
Now don’t change it. At least not yet, ok?

The Results from Great Direction

What I discovered was that if I knew where a client was headed, then I could typically deliver great returns on their investment in my services as their outsourced, part-time Strategist and CFO (Chief Financial Officer).

Conversely, if I could never get a direction from them, then their returns were miniscule. Oh, I could always cover their investment in my services, that’s been something I’ve done with every client. But, they never saw the 10x, 20x, or even 100x returns that other clients experienced.

As I began to see these results, I realized:

Just how important great direction is to the success of any company. Without it you just live in the day to day grind.

But to reach where you’re headed, well that requires your best strategies.

More...

So, 20 years ago I developed my proven, strategic process: The Next Level Navigator®; however, that’s a story for another time. You can read through the process in my book: The Next Level Entrepreneur: Focus your Passions ∙ Map your Direction ∙ Build a Great Company.

The Most Common Answer I Heard

 Do you know what most business owners / entrepreneurs answer was to me? A metric! A number, a quantity!

They’d say things like: “we are planning to increase sales to $$$…”, or “we need to grow to this number of employees..”, or “we are going to triple our throughput by next year…”, or “our goal is to double our territory in 2 years…”. 

My response? “That’s a metric, not a direction.”

The Other Kind of Answer

The other answer I could hear, but not nearly as much, was what I call the ‘Buzz Lightyear’ answer“To infinity and beyond!”.

Some way out there, great sounding, totally unachievable thing.

My response? “That’s a dream, not a direction.”  

Rarely, did I hear something that was truly directional.

Be Honest Now: what’s your answer?

Did your answer fall into either of these 2 categories? 

Well if it did, I’ve got good news! We can turn that into great direction, because you are future oriented.

If you didn’t have an answer, that’s ok! Because, now you know what’s been missing, and all you need to do is discover your direction.

And congratulations to you if you have an answer and it’s not in those 2 categories! That means you have a direction.

But, keep reading, there is so much more!

Here’s How It Started for You:

And me! Whether we're looking for a job or going to college, deciding on a career, or starting a business, or any kind of new direction in life; we always begins with direction followed by strategy. Even if we don’t realize that’s what we’re doing.

Once we decide that direction and develop a plan to get there (that’s the strategy); off we go!

And that’s probably the last time we really focused on direction and strategy.

We just started doing whatever it takes to get there, those are called tactics.

Living from Tactic to Tactic

Sooner or later, most of us find some kind of success in the direction we are heading. And now we are just trying to sustain that direction. Dare I call it: surviving?

Ughhh…. over the years, life drains away and we just keep going through the motions to “sustain that direction”. Why? It works. Well, it did work and we hope it keeps working.

Hope is NOT a strategy.

But, nothing in this world remains the same. Over the millennia, change is the one common factor to every age. Plus, we are changing. You are not the same person you were last year. You know that, right?

So, change is multi-dimensional and can be quite confusing without direction.

So where are you headed, today?

Not last year or 10 years ago. Today!

I call my process The Next Level Navigator, because the process moves the user from Next Level to Next Level. But, where are all these Next Levels headed?

Towards what you envision. Toward who you are intended to be. Towards what you envision your company could be, towards the impact it could have.

In my process, Next Levels are comprised of strategies. Strategies are accomplished with  tactics which are made up of actions.

We Need Scaffolding, not Accountability

So how do we go from living ‘tactic to tactic’ to living strategically?

Well, they are building some new buildings in my town. And all of these buildings have scaffolding all around them to support the structure and provide the workman access as the building goes up.

What I’ve noticed are all the other buildings around them that are finished. None of these have scaffolding, not one. Why?

They designed the buildings to have an internal structure that supports the building, so when it’s finished it no longer needs the scaffolding.

Accountability is like scaffolding. It’s necessary to get us started, but at some point we should have internalized the accountability, i.e. structure.

Some people call these habits. We’ve all heard it take 21 days or is it 4 weeks? or was it 3 months? to establish a habit. Who knows!?!

What we never hear, is that what it really takes to establish a habit is “scaffolding”, NOT time.

Strategic Habits

We need is rebuilding from our day to day, tactic to tactic living that is so ingrained into us.

To overcome all the day to day resistance to our moving in the direction we are headed, we must develop our strategic muscle! And work it out every week.

Just like a new building going up, we need help to internalize doing something strategic every week. It needs to be a habit we will not break!

But we also need strategies that are focused on helping us reach the right direction for us.

To Live Truly Free we need great direction, our best strategies, and strategic habits!

I could give countless examples of how this works. But what I’d rather offer you is a solution:

Strategies to Actions

Is a new, live, interactive, virtual course where I will be leading groups with only 3 entrepreneurs per group. Using The Next Level Navigator I will guide you to:

  • Set your direction and develop the strategies to get there.
  • Accomplish up to 3 of your strategies towards your direction.
  • Develop weekly strategic habits to sustain you after the course.

This is the same process I used at Rackspace Hosting to help them develop direction and strategy and guide their strategic teams to achieve that direction. Over those 4 years they grew 5x to $500m in revenue and went public (NYSE: RAX).

You see, Strategies to Actions is both the design and the scaffolding!

And I believe that everyone who takes Strategies to Actions will be able to continue achieving all their future Next Levels through their new strategic habits formed in this course!

For all the details go to TheNextLevelEntrepreneur.net.

We have a limited time, Pre-Launch Offer at a 30% discount that expires September 10, 2019 or when the 8 groups fill. So, if your interested, please check it out quickly!

If you’d like to speak with me personally about the course, there is a button at the bottom of the landing page to book a time.

Hope to see you in the course!

P.S. Please leave a comment or any question you might have in the comment box below. We'd love to hear from you.

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About the Author

George is author of "The Next Level Entrepreneur" and has spent more than 25 years of working with companies of all sizes guiding them to their Next Level. He draws on his extensive business acumen to provide direction, growth solutions, and clarity to millennial entrepreneurs.

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