Kenneth E. Fields
7 Scaling Secrets – #1 – Where Are We Going? (The North Star and the North Pole)
For thousands of years, the stars in the night sky have been used to help humans (and even birds and seals) know where they are going. One star in particular, the North Star (a.k.a. Polaris), was critical for determining direction before the invention and broad use of the GPS.
In the night sky, Polaris is extremely close to where the Earth’s northern axis points. So close, in fact, that while other stars rotate around the sky, Polaris stays in roughly the same place…which makes it very useful for navigating. However, regardless of how much we’ve used Polaris, no human has ever visited. At the speed of light, it would take 433 YEARS to get there!
Photo credit: Preston Dyches
So, what would happen if you decided to follow the North Star and go as far as you could go…where would you end up? The North Pole. The North Pole is a place that has been flown over, skied to, walked to, and visited by boats and submarines. It’s difficult, but you can get there.
This is where we start when it’s time to scale a company. What’s the ‘North Star’ for both the leader and the company? We’re looking for those things that may seem like dreams (we often use the term ‘Imagine if’) and that are free from any constraints. Are we going to get there? Probably not. However, we have a clear idea of the direction that we’re going in and why.
Later in this process, we will take an understanding of our current situation combined with our North Star and turn it into a ‘North Pole’. Specifically, what are some tangible things that we can accomplish in the next year that move us in the direction of the North Star?
Next time you can see the stars, take a minute to think about where you want to go (your North Star) and how you’re going to get there (the North Pole). Then get a warm coat and start the journey!