A tourist visiting the northeast coast of Maine stopped at a local gas station to ask directions. He asked the attendant “How do I get to Jackman from here?“. The attendant replied “You can’t get there from here”.
Many organizational leaders are asking the same question, how do we get there from here, and getting the same response, you can’t get there from here. Perplexed by the answer the following question is “why?”. The answer is simple yet profound…..because to get there from here we have to understand the landscape and what has changed that prevents us from getting there from here.
From “here” is the current paradigm you rely on to make business decisions about the future, whether that is next month or next year. Getting “there” is somewhere in the future and in most cases the envisioned future is a place in time with significant improvements. An envisioned future without improvements is a faulty and fruitless vision and you simply won’t get there from here.
To Get There What Must Change?
Many organizations would agree that things are changing rapidly but few are able to understand the underlying dynamics that are changing the pace and scope of change. Technology is obviously underlying the digital revolution. However, the latter is based above all on deep changes in the relations of production, the exchanges, the definition of economics and the social bonds.
One could speak of a new industrial paradigm, and even of a change of civilization. . Today’s changes are opening a new world of exchanges and interactions that simply did not exist previously. Forget all past assumptions, strategies, business models. structures and last but not least beliefs. Conventional beliefs are not the path to getting you and your organization from here to there. You have to uncover what you don’t see or believe before you can discover what you could see and believe.
To uncover conventional beliefs, you have to challenge yourself to image how you might achieve unconventional outcomes. That is how you get there from here.