How to Walk a Crooked Line to Success
Determined leaders, who don’t change direction, end up in the wrong place. The down side of resolve, tenacity, and determination is refusing to learn and adapt as you go.
The path to the future is never a straight line.
If you can’t change direction you never get there.
You always zigzag to big goals.
Those who never change direction have perfect foreknowledge and wisdom or they’re perfectly in the dark.
The trouble with zigzagging is it feels like:
- Failure. You stay the course, even after conditions change, because changing course feels like you made a mistake. Wise leaders don’t make mistakes, do they?
- Weakness. People wonder if you have a backbone when you change course.
- Confusion. Don’t you know where to go and how to get there? Can’t you make up your mind?
7 Ways to Zigzag successfully:
- Focus on long-term targets. Define a zig in terms of long-term success. “This may feel like failure now but it produces better success later.”
- Constantly monitor team member success. Reassign or retrain lagers. The same people, doing the same things, in the same ways, year after year, assures stagnation and mediocrity. Make zigzagging normal.
- Create a taskforce not a committee. Assign people to short-term projects. When the task is done the taskforce dissolves.
- Solicit feedback, input, and suggestions before zigging. Adjustments go better when everyone participates.
- Acknowledge screw ups don’t hide them. It’s better to expose bad decisions than pretend they’re ok.
- Celebrate progress even if it isn’t perfect. Complaining never motivates over the long haul.
- Maximize lessons learned. Learning what’s not useful frees you to engage in what’s useful. Zags indicate growth and learning.
How can leaders zigzag successfully?
Thank you for sharing your ABC’s for leaders on Facebook and joining the conversation here.
Didn’t know there was such a thing as a straight line:) Crooked is more scenic and fun anyway!!
Great, timely message for me. I’m smack in the middle of a major transition. During this time, I’ve gotten lots of great advice (no sarcasm) from close friends. I hate zig-zagging at this point because it feels like I’m not valuing the advice and input of those friends. But when great opportunities arise that feel right and move me forward, I have to weigh the options and take the zig-zag.
Well, the illusion believing one can wrest happiness and satisfaction out of this life only if they manage it well can be an attractive pull down the rabbit hole. As is thinking people will watch videos showing them something better. They really like going over and hearing what they like is OK! In spite of the facts!
Remember Little Big Man.
One of my favorite fellas in that movie even what over 30 years ago before I knew I was an addicted fella………..Mr Merriwhether. That guy fascinated me! Still does!
Jack Crabb: Mr Merriwhether, you don’t know you’re licked!
Mr Merriwether: Licked? I am not licked. I’m tarred and feathered, that’s all!
That is one awesome Dude that Mr Merriwhether! Isn’t he? In the movie if you remember they keep meeting together years apart and Mr Merriwhether is always minus more body parts as he tries vainly in his attempt to satiate the goals of his own ego. Never figures out his thinking is his problem.
The beauty of this fella for me is his absolute lack of comprehension!
He is FANTASTIC! LOL
As far as the stuff in your post today Dan, they can all be boiled down to one FOR ME. A short memory! You think Mr Merriwhther has a short memory? LOL
Just readjust ALL DAY LONG, as close to moment by moment as I can train my mind to do it.
I have found the world just moves right along if I decide to just BE more and just WATCH more. Plus the never ending judgements I make(moment by moment I noticed once I started being aware of my judgements) people rarely ever follow the suggestions I give them to make the world be the way I think it ought to be!
AA Big Book says first thing I got to do is quit playing God! LOL
Pretty good advice for my peace of mind! IF I DO IT!
Yeah those 12 Steps are really an ego demolition tool! Why it works with so many different folks with such seemingly different issues. Only one issue, THE EGO!
So will end with another Mr Merriwhether quote! Love this guy! I got a copy of that movie around here somewhere and think I will watch it again today!
Here goes: Mr Merriwhether: “men will believe anything., the more preposterous the better. Whales speak French at the bottom of the sea. The horses of Arabia have silver wings. Pygmies mate with elephants in darkest Africa. I have sold all those propositions. Well, maybe we’re all fools and none of it matters”.
So for me Dan, one is better than seven. I find it best instead of different ways to frame getting others to do my will its best for me to just BE, WATCH and enjoy the splendor unfolding right in front of me.
My alternative, become attached to folks watching videos that would show them something better than they are doing now.
Dan you have ANY IDEA if I based my happiness on if others followed my suggestions how truly unhappy and frustrated I would be?
Can’t attach in the moment, no time! Isn’t that beautiful?
I am responsible for carrying and sharing the message but unattached to the results, that is God’s business.
Have a God one.
SP Back to The Present! bet this will be about a 4 thumbs downer, what you think? hehe
Muy bueno el comentario, saludos.
“Serpentine, serpentine” as Lightning McQueen would say! Well, there, you have made it through the alphabet, now what? Numbers? Happy Meals for Leaders? The Starbucks menu? haha, you know i’m kidding! Enjoy the weekend~!
What a true statement – ‘The path to success is never a straight line’! One should be ready to face the challenges of future with readiness and practical approach. Creating winning teams and assigning them time-bound projects are the right ways to achieve the desired results. Precisely, Task Force Teams do wonders with cohesiveness and collective responsibility coupled with commitment to deliver.
Right People and Planned Process help to sail through the zigzag patches with immense confidence and vigor. A solution-oriented approach with collective wisdom will hep to clear all types of obstacles in the path of success. Good leaders play a catalyst role of guiding and showing the right direction to all team members.
Love this post, Dan. Planning is important because it makes us prepared. But we need to be able to adjust to unpredicted events. I heard that with the first moon shot, although the trajectory had been completely mapped out, NASA had to made over 1000 mid-course corrections. Now that’s a zig-zag!
Not sure about this…. The straight line is the fasted path to wherever you are going…. If you want to “learn” new stuff along the way… Stray if you will…. Then zig and zag…. Nothing wrong with it… But it seems like it will slow and frustrate some focused people down.
Blessed are the flexible for they don’t get bent out of shape. I’m not sure who said or wrote it first, but it seems to fit. When we pick a point on the horizon toward a greater vision, we are certain to walk a straighter line.
Interesting that this “Z” word brings me back to “A” for agile. We must be flexible enough at any point along our journey to reflect on steps taken and make corrections as we move forward.
I enjoy reading your posts though I don’t comment that often. Your writing is inspiring and thought provoking.
Thanks for another great read.
An excellent article! I loved the suggestion to use a task force not a committee, and to assign people to short-term projects – that will for sure make zig-zagging more streamlined.
Between us, my wife and I have had 16 career / profession / job changes in the XX years since we graduated from college and on our paths to success. That’s a lot of zigging and zagging. Some of the changes were planned (in the long-term sense); some were thrust upon us unwillingly (but still fit some sort of plan — even if of the whirlwind nature).
But for those of us who believe in a Higher Being, I have found it vital to accept and embrace that OUR plans may not always be part of THE plan — it makes those zigs and zags easier to deal with.
When you’re in the depths of a zig or a zag, it’s not always easy to see the potential it presents. Often, I think, it’s only in taking quick glances backward that it’s possible to see that those changes in our path to success have built upon one another and made us better leaders because of it.
The zig zag is the best. Without a zig or a zag often we don’t learn valuable lessons, I know I would have missed many. Some people are laser focused and seem to know what they need to know/acquire (like degrees or classes) in order to get ahead, but some of us need experiential learning on the job which always zigzags. So what’s next? Numbers? 🙂
This is so great, Dan. It is what I call playing the dog legs. Coincidentally, I was just beginning a blog article of my own on the topic when I saw this. I trust you won’t mind if I link to your post. Thanks for your insights.
Man plans, God laughs. 🙂
Stay flexible, keep an open mind and on occasion…get scrappy…I like it!
This is refreshing to hear. As a young entrepreneur with a fledgling start up there are definite peaks and valleys and we recently scaled back to a “back to basics” to reassess our message and our market. At the time it felt like a failure, an admittance of defeat, but it paid off HUGELY. Stepping back a few steps allowed us to go forward a lot more.
Hi Dan, great post! 🙂
The process you describe took me back many years, precisely to the year 2000. I was very passionate about America’s Cup Sailboat Racing. It was the year that Luna Rossa won the Louis Vuitton Cup. I remember watching the Virtual Eye replays of the races and it was this very zigzag (tack & jibe) technique that was used to navigate the course upwind. Downwind is easy…usually the boat sails straight.
The skipper would send a crew member to the top of the mast to scout for wind. The idea is to identify pockets of wind by studying how agitated the sea is. The result was that the Skipper would have to make a split second decision about staying the course or diverting to reach the windy spot.
The problem is that by moving off a direct line to the flag you give your opponent an immediate advantage. It takes a lot of courage to do this but if it is done right, the results are awesome.
I was always amazed at how fast the sailboats could go with the right wind and only the brave found the best wind and ultimately, the win.
Thanks again, Dan, for your guidance and for bringing back long lost memories.