The Three Eyes of Trajectory

Drift feels great when the sun is hot and the water calm. But, drifters always crash on the rocks.

Holding steady is drifting toward oblivion.

waves crashing on the rocks

Trajectory:

What is your current trajectory? If you aren’t sure, yell, “Danger!”

Organizations, like people, always have trajectory.

You know when you’re moving forward but ignore subtle drift. Deal with stagnation or drift before you hear crashing waves.

Successful leaders establish trajectory.

Three eyes:

Trajectory is monitored by keeping one eye on the distant destination, the second eye on present location, and the third eye on current direction.

Split trajectory:

Is there enough forward movement to compensate for tides? Some areas move forward, a few back. Deal with negative trajectory when it chokes-off positive.

Backward pull, when ignored or tolerated, cools forward trajectory.

Some downturns are cyclical. Don’t think of them as dangerous. It’s foolish to fight the arrival of winter. But when winter hangs on, intervention is necessary.

7 ways to establish trajectory:

  1. We’ve been here before. A review of past experience indicates this downswing is normal. Prepare, compensate, but don’t panic.
  2. Pour energy into energy. Where is the hot spot in your organization? Fuel that fire.
  3. Evaluate the bad and the good. Don’t ignore losses, but don’t forget wins either. Are you putting too much weight on the dark side and forgetting progress?
  4. Heed the voice of prolonged frustration. Are the points of frustration new or familiar. Prolonged frustration calls for intervention. Begin by stopping what isn’t working.
  5. Listen to protracted dissatisfaction. Connect with smart, experienced people. Invite feedback to assess where you are and where you’re heading.
  6. Clarify destination and establish what progress looks like today.
  7. Hoist your sails and row like heck. Don’t give in to drift.

How can leaders determine trajectory?

Bonus: Facebook fans chime in on how to create or fuel momentum.