Have you ever tried to navigate by completely trusting a GPS while hiking in unknown territory, like in the mountains? If yes, you know it might get you into trouble… If no, maybe you should listen to advice from someone that has tried: Don’t do it! You will probably only get stuck out in the mud somewhere you can’t get through, because the GPS wanted to lead you the straightest way forward without taking into consideration all the unknown unknowns on the way. This image can serve us as a clear example of the trouble we might end up in when we give navigation too much belief. But what happens when we shift our minds into thinking that we should be wayfinding instead of navigating? Maybe we would let go of the idea that we should reach a specific destination in a certain way and be willing to let go of the thought that there is a perfect plan. Maybe we would open up for the adventure itself instead.
We think, discuss and co-create with our customers constantly on how to meet the complexity of our time. How can we develop our businesses when it becomes more and more difficult to foresee the future? How can we continue to be profitable, continue to create strong business results, when we have this feeling that what made us successful up until now might not be the answer going ahead? How can we innovate, come up with new ideas when our analysis and strong intellects might not be fully sufficient?
The metaphor of hiking in unknown territory, where we don’t really know what the nature will look like until we’re actually there, might be helpful also in the business landscape. We are so programmed to make plans, trying to predict and control, to ensure that we will deliver according to plan. Since the 19th century that’s how most successful businesses have been managed, it’s what most of us learnt in business schools and what’s been expected of us in our leadership assignments throughout our careers. And yet, most of the people we meet are starting to realize that navigating in this way isn’t helpful anymore – but what is then the right answer, now and in the future?
First of all, we believe that we have to let go of the idea of right and wrong, good or bad. So if you expected a right answer, we will disappoint you… But maybe there are mindsets that can be helpful when wayfinding instead of navigating, some learnings that we’ve drawn. Here we have tried to conclude them so far:
- To view the adventure itself as both the destination and the journey – at the same time. It’s all about the progress, the movement. Focus on the sowing, rather than on the harvest.
- To increase our awareness. To use more of our senses and capabilities than just our analytical and intellectual mind – our intuition, our emotions, our ability to take in our surroundings, to listen, to see and to be present. Why? Because we need all of that to be able to explore, learn, to collaborate and to be creative together.
- An overall purpose and intention are powerful, it helps us set the direction – not in the exact GPS-coordinates but in which direction we should start moving and where to look for energy when we are starting to get tired or feeling lost.
- Constant learning and reflecting are what will make us continuously develop and grow. If we use the insights to adapt our actions and steps further.
- And what is a great adventure without joy, playfulness and laughing together? To invest in our relationships and working together, supporting and helping each other, will make the effort worthwhile.
This is how far we have gotten in exploring wayfinding as a strategy to be a successful, sustainable business in today’s uncertain and unpredictable business landscape. It’s probably just a starting point and we will learn more as we move on our adventure. Maybe you want to be part of that exploration with us?