The Law of Navigation

The fourth law of the The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership is The Law of the Lid:

“Anyone Can Steer the Ship, but It Takes a Leader to Chart the Course”

Leaders who navigate controls the direction in which they and their people travel. But they do more than that. They see the whole trip in their minds before they leave the dock. They have a vision for getting to their destination, they understand what it will take to get there, they know who they’ll need to take along to be successful, and they recognize the obstacles long before they appear on the horizon.

Before his team ever set off, Roald Amundsen had painstakingly planned his trip. He studied the methods of the inuit, and other experienced arctic travelers and determined that their best course of action would be to transport all their equipment and supplies by dogsled. When he assembled his team, he chose expert skiers and dog handlers. Amundsen’s forethought and attention to detail were incredible. He located and stocked supply depots all along the route. That way they would not have to carry every bit of their supplies with them the whole trip. He also equipped his people with the best gear possible.

There is a simple acrostic -PLAN AHEAD- that provides a reminder of the major steps involved in navigational leadership:

  • Predetermine a course of action
  • Lay out your goals
  • Adjust your priorities
  • Notify key people
  • Allow time for acceptance
  • Head into action
  • Expect problems
  • Always point to the successes
  • Daily review the plan

Navigation requires preparation. A leader is one who sees more than others see, who sees farther than others see and who sees before others do. Navigation requires a vision of the future and reflection of the past.

Summing-up: The secret of the Law of Navigation is preparation. When you prepare well, you convey confidence and trust to people. Leaders who are good navigators are capable of taking their people just about anywhere.

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