The Most Valuable Business Lessons Found in the Journey, Not the Destination

You don’t learn the valuable lessons by reaching your destination, you find them on your journey. Let’s talk about embracing the journey of improvement, changing perceptions and not skipping over the most important parts.

It’s a cliche thrown around too often, however, there’s a reason why we’ve been told from an early age to love the journey, not just the final destination. I’ve been lucky enough to work in a space that allows me to see how others go about their day operating a business, observe from the sidelines what works, what doesn’t, and how different leaders - and their perceptions about the business world - can both help and hinder that business. Prolific writer Seth Godin once said that in a world that is constantly changing, the biggest risk in business is to stay the same in the face of a dynamic environment; complacency and time don’t fare well for organisations. This is a journey that no matter your operations, regardless of your size and your access to resources is essential to success in 2020 and beyond: the journey toward improvement that is a prerequisite for success.

Yet, for a number of reasons, this journey is either fast-tracked or completely forgotten in the face of dwindling time and resources, external pressures and perhaps most significantly of all, the fact that the management team doesn’t see the value in it. This is where the thesis of this piece steps into play, and directly addresses those management teams that might be dragging their feet when it comes to innovative solutions to problems, and pivoting the organisation’s direction toward improvement. In order to initiate the change, there needs to be a change of perception that starts from the ground-up, and is built upon the foundation of belief that in order to compete in a crowded marketplace, everyone in the organisation needs to love the journey, not just sprint to the finish line.

It’s one thing to want the improvement, but if you’re longing for the destination, you’re missing the point of the exercise as a whole- it’s about relishing the small victories on your way to the finishing line, optimising the small things in your operations that culminate in a transformative way of operating for your staff and your customers.

I like to ask everyone in an organisation, from the lowest-ranking member to the highest-sitting executive what they perceive to be the most important thing they’re doing for the customer. It’s important to be on the same level with this, and in the absence of it, there’s probably some work to do in terms of your organisation’s mission statement and overall vision. If everyone is on the same frequency when it comes to this, everyone’s efforts are harmonised and you can begin to truly enjoy the journey, rather than focus with tunnel-vision at the end goal. I’ve written before on the importance of celebrating the little victories in your organisation, but it’s worth mentioning again because it instils both purpose and motivation in your team, in spite of the fact that you’re not at the final destination yet.

So then, why is it absolutely essential to relish the journey, rather than focus purely on the end destination? Because it’s sustainable, and it’s a near assurance that you’ll commit to your journey of improvements across the board in your organisation, and it will help inspire the people that you’ve surrounded yourself when your actions speak the fact that you believe in your mission. Too often, this part of the process is handed off to a quality manager, or certain departments while the rest of the organisation operates oblivious to their cause. Some of the most important areas for improvement will be identified in this stage of the process, so I tell everyone that I meet with - and my team of assessors - to encourage all areas of the business to get on board and really relish this opportunity.

When you’ve got organisational buy-in to the improvement of the organisation, this is when you can really begin to identify problematic areas and implement revolutionary solutions to turn these into opportunities for improvement and capitalisation.

Thanks for your time, and I’ll see you in the next piece.

Kobi Simmat

For a guide on how to implement an ISO Quality Management System, Click here 9

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