3. Plan the direction of the trail. Check to see if any unmovable obstacles, such as fences, boulders, large trees, or streams will disrupt things.
Where are you going? The Cheshire Cat said, “If you don’t care where you’re going, any path will get you there.” As you plan for change in your business or in your life, it just makes sense to think about the direction as you begin to blaze the trail.
This relates to the environmental scan. Know what is going on in your organization or in your own life. Know who supports you; know whose support you will need to enlist; know who might be an obstacle. If you know the obstacles, you can plan how to remove them or work around them.
Are there objects you simply can’t get around? When I assess my own life, I find a number of immovable objects. Some, I can navigate around; others cause me to reconsider my path. I’m just not built for runway modeling. The obstacles are not ones that I can realistically overcome, so it’s a good thing that this isn’t my chosen path. I want to be able to coach disenfranchised women who can’t afford – and may not even know about – coaching. I can build any number of paths around this rock or use leverage like independent funding to get around this and continue on this path.
In organizations, I often coach managers who want to get financial rewards for their staff. In hard times and in the face of bureaucratic restrictions, this might seem like an enormous wall. Further inspection might suggest alternate paths, like reclassifying the job, that will achieve the goal. Where will you simply ford a stream? Where will you build a bridge?
How can your plan be disrupted? Are there negative people who seem to be obstacles? Regulations? Unions? Force of tradition (we’ve always done it this way)? Plan your direction. Assess the landscape. Identify the obstacles and make a plan to deal with each of them to blaze a successful trail.