Focus on the Journey, Not the Destination

by | Mar 11, 2021 | Insights, Transformation

Let’s talk about the word success. I don’t know about you, but for me it calls to mind a destination. Success looks like five million in revenue, a million users, four offices, three countries…you get the picture. But our lives are long, and the lives of our companies can be even longer. What happens when you arrive? What lies beyond? Both people and businesses require an entirely different paradigm for thinking about the future. If you want to motivate yourself and your people to think creatively, and keep them energized no matter what the future brings, it’s time to shift from a destination culture to a journey culture.

A destination vs. a journey culture

A destination culture is characterized by constraints that reduce creativity. It has everyone focused on a major achievement that you predict will still be valuable and meaningful to you and your customers some time down the road. It doesn’t encapsulate what’s beyond that destination for the company, its people, and its customers. It puts blinders on your people and causes them to miss the sparks of change. Those sparks are the clues that give us powerful insights into the future and how our business will need to adapt. And, it’s focused on measurement more than alignment.

A journey culture embraces the fact that unpredictable things will happen. In journey culture, you focus on what you DO know must be true about your company’s future and your own. Then you endeavor to “reduce your irritability” (as John Keats puts it) about the things you don’t know, or can’t know. Spend more time getting curious about your organization. Bring in an outside perspective, be it a trusted friend, mentor, or Glowe Connective. Engage in the shift from asking “have I reached my destination?” to asking “are we aligned with what’s most important for our organization?”

A journey culture lets creativity grow

In a journey culture, everyone is on the same road together but you understand that you can’t know what twists, turns, obstacles, or waypoints will show up on the roadmap as you go. So you’re in the habit of checking for alignment with mission, vision, values, and strategy, and making sure everyone in the organization is empowered to do so. These elements serve as a guide and impose a touch of restraint to unleash creative thinking.

How do constraints unleash creativity? We recently listened to a great podcast about this from the culinary world. But the gist is that creativity often comes from the need to address challenge, whether that’s environmental or self imposed. Think how many times you’ve probably heard or seen people say things like this: “I only had 60 minutes so I had to get creative” or “I only had flour, sugar, and 3 eggs, so I had to get creative” or “We couldn’t go into the office for six months because of COVID-19, so we had to get creative.”

Embrace the journey 

So, when a tree falls on the path, or a new toll road appears, a destination culture makes you feel blocked. It ruins your momentum or brings you to a complete stop. A journey culture prepares your organization not only to see challenges as opportunities, but to come out on the other side of them with an even better way of doing business. At Glowe, we always plan to stay with clients for a while, but we know it’s not forever. So our focus is to help develop a journey culture, with clear guiding elements that everyone is aligned WITH and aligned ON. If you’re ready to make a change, reach out and let’s talk!