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

About the Author leadership dots by dr. beth triplett

I'm the chief connector at leadership dots where I serve as "the string" for individuals and organizations. Like stringing pearls together to make a necklace, "being the string" is an intentional way of thinking and behaving – making linkages between things that otherwise appear random or unconnected – whether that be supervising a staff, completing a dissertation or advancing a project in the workplace. I share daily leadership dots on my blog to provide examples of “the string” in action. I use the string philosophy through coaching, consulting and teaching to help others build capacity in themselves and their organizations. I craft analogies and metaphors that help people comprehend complex topics and understand their role in the system. My favorite work involves helping those new to supervision or newly promoted supervisors build confidence and learn the skills necessary to effectively lead their team.

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