If the path before you is clear, you’re probably on someone else’s

I kind of fell over that quote by Joseph Campbell these days: most people and organizations put a lot of effort and energy to create a clear path.

When planning a mountain hike I will most probably choose a mountain that has been explored, download the different routes that have been defined by other people and follow that route. I know from the very beginning, where I will end, what will happen after 2, 4, 6 hours etc. I can even download the pictures and all relevant information. It is very smart, when I want to go on a mountain hike and limit risks. I will find views and perspectives that are new to me, but not for the world. This path has been invented and explored by other people long before.

It is perfectly fine to plan your life and your organizational path like this. I know many organizations preferring to being followers and it can be really smart to let other organizations try out new ways, learn from their mistakes, avoid risks. They have their plans, their budgets, their scenarios, everything is pre-set. Organization goes into the default mode, a life in default mode (most people follow their parent’s path, like it or not).

The downside of the clear path might be the missed opportunities that can be found along an individual and unexplored way. A clear way sorts out all other opportunities that could arise along the way. You will be focused on following the way and you are not present and alert to what happens around you. You look straight, complying with the plans and miss out all the other possibilities.

I would suggest that you choose a new mountain, find your own way, use your capabilities to navigate in new and unknown areas, like sensing, communicating and connecting with other, exchanging, observing, listening, trial and error, planning a next workable step. Instead of limiting yourself and your organizations by setting a clear road that might look stable but will be very fragile to environmental changes.

So make sure you have some sense of direction with and unclear path, to keep attention high and use opportunities along the way. What will help you in your orientation is not the clear plan, but a clear sense of purpose, principles and direction. Break-through Innovations could be the result of keeping up with dizziness, not of a planned path.