How to Stop Drifting and Find Focus


Life is a journey but you’re drifting unless you define your destination. The same is true for organizations. The first step toward success is defining it.

Too eager to do:

Activity seduces. Leaders easily fall into the “Let’s just go do something” trap. Activity without destination is futility.

Eager to do:

The choice between sleeping horses and running horses is easy. Choose running horses. Foot draggers may safely arrive, eventually. Impatient racehorses aren’t safe but in our turbulent world, impatience keeps you in the race.

The ultimate destination:

The ultimate destination is who not what. Before you do, ask who; ask who you want to become. The same goes for organizations. Who we want to become always precedes and guides what we want to do.

Impatient leaders say let’s do something. Wise leaders say, “Let’s become something.”

Warren Bennis put it this way, “Leadership is synonymous with becoming yourself.”

When you don’t know where:

Crystal balls exist in fairytales. In other words, you can’t determine what to do by looking into next year, next week, or tomorrow. Future circumstances can’t guide you today. You can, however, determine who you want to become, regardless of tomorrow (both individually and organizationally).

Decision making:

Some think decisions determine destinations but that’s reactive not proactive living. Leaders navigate toward predetermined destinations. Compelling destinations determine today’s decisions. Application: once you determine who you want to become, you can decide what you want to do.

Bullets then cannon balls:

Once you define who you want to become, Jim Collins insightful suggestion applies. “Shoot bullets before cannon balls.” When the best course isn’t obvious, test the waters. Don’t waste your ammo. Learn enough to begin, and then let your impatient race horses run.


I find these ideas both freeing and challenging.

Who do you want to be (individually or organizationally)?

What can you do to become it?