In business we are focused on producing results. Unsurprisingly as itâs the results that keep our stakeholders happy.Â Whether we call them results, outcomes, deliverables or an MVP they’re all a type of destination. Â Whilst the destination gets all of the attention, the departure hardly gets a mention.Â Surprisingly, asÂ getting to a common destination is a lot easier if youâre all leaving from the same location.Â Are we missing something by not placing higher value on the departure point?
Renowned business transformation expert Dr Peter Fuda argues the case for the departure.Â âI used to think the real challenge was getting executives to agree on the vision but the real issue is the departure point.Â Sales thinks we are leaving from Paris and HR thinks we are leaving from the jungles of Africa.”
One area where the departure is often forgotten but particularly important is in the humble business meeting.Â Arguably the most common tool used in business and a fundamental building block in any change.Â Can you recall the number of times when youâve been in a meeting where you’ve little idea what the meeting was about, yet you’re hurtling forward toward some outcome?
In the rush to go forward we go backwardÂ
Itâs risky to assume that people turning up to a meeting are all on the same page. Think about the number of issues you are dealing with at any given point in time.Â Then multiply that by the number of attendees in the meeting.Â All the more reason to spend time on getting things clear before diving into what you’ve visualised as the important part.Â The trap is deciding to rush or drop the meeting “preamble” we miss the critical launch pad, the context.
Go backward to go forwardÂ
Context is the departure point.Â When we take time to define and understand the context, the journey is usually a smoother and faster one.Â Be prepared however to go back even further as the context provided may be not be agreed .Â You may need to explore the assumptions that are being made as context is typically based on someone’s interpretation of events which may not align with yours or others in the room.Â The importance of a clear departure point is directly proportional to the number of people involved in the discussion. The larger the audience, the more time should be allowed for scene setting and elaboration.
Driving change is much easier if youâre setting off from the same location. The trouble is, in our haste we forget this when we try to rush the outcome.Â The irony is that we’ll likely succeed in delaying what we tried to fast track.Â If you feel like youâre spinning your wheels in a meeting or in another part of your transformation journey, remember, context is king.Â Check your departure point – it may help you get to your destination sooner.
This blog was inspired by the book, Leadership Transformed, by Dr Peter Fuda