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Two Men and a Compass: A Lesson in Implementation

Jul 10, 2008
Even the best-laid plans can go bad; if you aren't able to execute, YOU'RE LOST!

I experienced this first hand a few years back when my friend, Creed Walton, and I went on a hike. We always take a map and compass with us to find our way. More often than not, we spend part of the day lost; but it is in the "doing" that we have learned how to navigate through the backcountry without following any trails.

On this trip we had a great plan but it was dark before we got started. We implemented the strategy that worked in the past. Our strategy failed us! We would walk and everything felt like we were walking a straight line but our senses failed us. We were going in circles. Our best-laid plan was of no use without being able to see where we were going. Our first attempt at implementing a strategy to get around our roadblock failed us, but it opened our minds to a strategy we would have never found without trying the first!

Our new strategy was to have Creed walk directly in front of me, while I constantly watched the compass. Creed would make sure I didn't slam into any trees, or trip over a root, rock, or log. He would give me notice when I needed to step over something or duck under a branch. I would give Creed constant feedback by watching the compass and yelling out course corrections. It was so funny! Creed was trying his best to keep me safe and I had to constantly yell out commands right, right, left, straight, right etc. It worked beautifully! There are so many business lessons to learn from this story.

First, Action Trumps Planning!

I know, I know, you have to have a plan. The point is to make the best plan you can with the resources available and within a set timeframe. And then ACT! Get going! Implement something!

Second, Speed of Implementation Accelerates Success.

We had to come up with a strategy that worked quickly or call it a night. Taking action opened our minds to the strategy that worked!

Third, The road to success is paved with Fast Failures.

It was only the failure of our first strategy that enabled us to come up with the perfect solution. Had we not tried the first we wouldn't have even conceived of the strategy that worked.

In life and in business, the process of taking action often illuminates the road to success, even if that action is a failure. It's often dark out there. You can't see where you are going. But until you take the first step you will never see the next. By being willing to fail, you are free to take action. Action brings you closer to your goal. Action opens your mind to new opportunities. Action illuminates your future.

Be an Actionator!
About the Author
I am an author/speaker. I sell informational products on sales , sales training , leadership , management training. I do keynote speeches and workshops. I was a Financial Advisor for nine years before starting my own training business .
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