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7 Scaling Secrets - #6 – How to Stick to the Plan (Slow and Steady Wins the Race)

Aesop’s Fable about The Tortoise and the Hare is a well-known story about how consistency makes a difference. But what if you’re consistently going in the wrong direction?

The famous racers in New York's Van Cortlandt Park. Credit: Lehman College Art Gallery / CUNY

In his book, Atomic Habits, author James Clear uses the following example:

“Imagine you are flying from Los Angeles to New York City. If a pilot leaving from LAX adjusts the heading just 3.5 degrees south, you will land in Washington, D.C., instead of New York.”

Clear even points out that a change of 3.5 degrees at takeoff is equivalent to a shift of just over 7 feet! Obviously, a shift that small on takeoff would not make a big difference…if the pilots correct their course along the way. However, if they kept that 3.5 degree offset until, say, Nebraska, they would have a much more significant change to make.

This idea of ‘slow and steady’ plus regular course correction is key to scaling a company. Once you’ve defined a North Star, your direction is clear. A North Pole that clarifies tangible steps allows you to share the vision with the rest of the team and empower them to take responsibility for implementation. Now it’s time for a regular check-in meeting with the team to make sure that their direction is clear.

We recommend a 1-page overview of each North Pole ‘project’ (we often call them initiatives) that’s shared with the leadership team of the organization every 4-6 weeks. That gives everyone a chance to hear what’s going on as well as provide ‘course corrections’ if needed.

The 4 to 6-week timeframe allows for good progress to be made but also ensures that the team doesn’t get too far off target.

You need to celebrate the fact that you’re moving toward your North Star, just don’t forget to turn your eyes toward the skies regularly to make sure you can still see it!

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