Life goes where you look.
Drift is inevitable.
Course correction is normal.

Cars and motorcycles drift where drivers look. Skiers and runners go where their eyes go. Individuals and organizations drift toward short-term views and urgencies. Drift demands intervention.

Uncorrected drift always end badly.


“Everything’s running smoothly,” may indicate drifting. No one notices gentle drift. Sudden changes and giant shifts grab attention but drift invites slumber.

Drift always becomes crisis. Organizations quietly drift until someone looks around and says, “How the heck did we get here?” That’s when finger pointing starts. But fingers often point in wrong directions.

Drift is always leadership’s failure.
Neglect allows drift.

Organizations drift because:

  1. Pointing out drift makes you look foolish because drift is no big deal, at first. Other’s wonder what you’re all excited about. They say, “Chill! It’s no big deal.”
  2. Day-to-day dominates attention.
  3. Busyness is honored.
  4. Productivity isn’t measured.
  5. Urgency defeats priority.

Focus on today while managing. Focus on tomorrow while leading. Bennis said, “Failing organizations are usually over-managed and under-led.”

Dealing with drift:

  1. Pay attention to attention. At lunch evaluate morning focus, for example. What captured your thoughts? What attitude dominated your thinking? How are you making others feel?
  2. Set appointments with forward-thinking-time. Ask, “What destinations are established by current directions. If nothing changes where will we be next year?”
  3. Courageously, “Act like then is now,” Andy Stanley.
  4. Clarify mission and vision, constantly.
  5. Face problems with optimism, not blinders.
  6. Create celebration points. Celebrations help others focus on what’s important.

Focus don’t drift:

What you pay attention to, you become.

  1. Focus on what can’t be done to feel powerless.
  2. Concentrate on problems apart from next steps makes you negative.
  3. Appreciate and develop strengths to feel capable.

What causes personal or organizational drift?

How can you begin dealing with drift, today?

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