The Law of navigation simply says: “Anyone Can Steer the Ship, but It Takes a Leader to Chart the Course”
First-rate navigators always have in mind that other people are depending on them and their ability to chart a good course. Before good leaders take their people on a journey, they go through a process in order to give the trip the best chance of being a success:
- Navigators Draw on Past Experience – every past success and failure you’ve experienced can be a valuable source of information and wisdom. Success teaches you what you’re capable of doing and gives you confidence. However, your failures can often teach greater lessons, if you allow them to. If you fail to learn from your mistakes, you’re going to fail again and again.
- Navigators Examine the Conditions Before Making Commitments – No good leader plans a course of action without paying attention to current conditions. Good navigators count the cost before making commitments for themselves and others.
- Navigators Listen To What Others Have to Say – Navigating leaders get ideas from many sources. They listen to members of their leadership team. They spend time with leaders of other organizations who can mentor them. They always think in terms of relying on a team, not just themselves.
- Navigators Make Sure Their Conclusions Represent Both Faith and Fact – A leader has to possess a positive attitude. If you can’t confidently make the trip in your mind, you’re not going to be able to take it in real life. On the other hand, you also have to be able to see the facts realistically. If you don’t go in with your eyes wide open, you’re going to get blindsided. Balancing optimism and realism, faith and fact can be very difficult.
Charting A Course with A Navigation Strategy – here’s an acrostic that the author used repeatedly in his leadership.
- Predetermine a course of action.
- Lay out your goals. Adjust your priorities.
- Notify key personnel.
- Allow time for acceptance.
- Head into action.
- Expect problems.
- Always point to the successes.
- Daily review your plan.
The secret to the Law of Navigation is preparation. When you prepare well, you convey confidence and trust to people. Leaders who are good navigators are capable of taking their people just about anywhere.