Consider the people in the images below.
How far do you think they would travel in an hour? A day? A year? If they spent the day giving their full effort, how might they be feeling?
In organizations, people are often “paddling in different directions.” They are working hard but producing few results for their effort. They are working long hours and getting nowhere. They are tired, frustrated, and de-motivated. Morale decreases. Resentment builds.
What would happen if one of the people in the canoe changed direction? In just a few minutes, there would be progress. Five minutes of paddling would get the canoe travelling further than it had in the last five months.
When everyone is paddling in the same direction, the canoe can travel smoothly with reasonable effort. Making progress keeps people motivated to paddle, even when it gets tough. Add support to overcome obstacles, develop skills, and celebrate success, and the team reaches their destination faster and easier.
Travelling in the same direction with support is important, but imagine you were paddling for hours, only to realize you were aiming for the wrong side of the lake. Knowing and heading toward the right destination is essential for keeping motivation high and achieving success.
Providing a clear destination, guiding team members to align, and supporting teams and individuals to do their best, helps you create a motivating, productive, and thriving environment that generates results.