Destination Nowhere

Posted on August 25, 2022

In my latest book, How Efficiency Changes the Game, I wrote:

When my children were young, we would sometimes pile them in the car, head out from home with no destination in mind. Arriving at an intersection I would ask, “Should we go right, left, or straight ahead?” As we would drive to “destination unknown” the invariable question…would be asked, “Are we there yet?” While the road trip started with fun and energy, they would quickly grow weary on the way to nowhere. Organizations are not too dissimilar…

The Coles Group provides an example of having a destination end-point. “Coles’ vision is to become the most trusted retailer in Australia and grow long-term shareholder value … to sustainably feed all Australians to help them lead healthier, happier lives… (while),,, responding to the challenges presented by climate change.”¹

To move the Coles Group towards the lofty vision of being trusted, valuable, sustainable and responsive to climate change, they mapped a trajectory, carefully selecting roads to expedite progress.

One of the roads they are taking toward this vision is their Together Zero commitment, stating that by the end of June 2025, they will be powered by 100% renewable energy. They could have taken other roads, but the inclusion of “sustainability” as part of their vision helped clarify which one to take.

The vision and purpose, as destination end-point, continues to direct their energies, focus, resourcing, team efforts, and prioritisation of key objectives and issues.

The Coles Group will encounter difficulties associated with the terrain as they travel along the road defined by the Together Zero initiative. However, their strategic direction provides a solid framework from which they can make decisions and create these initiatives, driving them always closer toward their vision.

Whether a multi-national or a sole business owner, having a destination end-point helps us choose the best roads to get there, rather than being on one of the many roads to nowhere.

Key Points:

1. It can be fun to make it up as you go, but it can become tiring and potentially unprofitable

2. Having a destination in mind is inspiring and helps with route-planning

3. The map is not the terrain. You still have to deal with the conditions on the road. However, the destination helps you keep going when the terrain gets tough.

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