One of my favorite goal setting tools is the map of Indiana. I learned in my college marketing distribution class that more major roads lead to Indianapolis than any other major city in the country. If you pull out (or in today’s vernacular pull up online) a map of Indiana, you’ll see Indianapolis smack dab in the middle of the state. And thick roads lead to it by going north, south, east or west.
Often when organizations set goals, the leaders either consciously or unconsciously think that it means that everyone must be going in the same direction to attain the goal. They roll out the strategic plan and expect followers to get information and march toward the target.
The visual of Indianapolis shows what is counter-intuitive but actually true — that people can go in all directions to meet the goal. Everyone can reach the destination in different ways — coming from a different direction, using different means of transport; some going faster (interstates) while others take the more scenic (2-lane) routes.
The Indiana map makes the job of the leader crystal clear: define “Indianapolis” for your organization. It also allays some of the fears of the followers. Leaders are not aiming for rote conformity. Some level of individualism can live. There is an element of choice in the process. Just as long as there is ultimate clarity of where the organization is headed.
— beth triplett