Ok, so we have all been guilty of it, tapping in the destination postcode and following the satnav slavishly only to discover that it has “taken us” the long way round.
The reality is that as the driver, you have the responsibility to navigate successfully. Abdicating that responsibility (to something akin to a calculator) and blaming a machine for our failings is no excuse.
Map reading is an acquired skill. It needs practise. The map reader is able to build a picture of the proposed journey, consider alternatives and avoid unnecessary detours. With a map in our minds we have a sense of direction. We can take into consideration the purpose of the journey, and create a route which we may enjoy. We also know when we are being misdirected.
A satnav is a great measuring tool. Average speed; time to destination; nearest fuel stop; approximate location; and so on.
But it is just a tool, it’s not the driver.
Developing a business strategy is much like map reading.
Being clear about your destination and creating a route to arrive safely by the required time. It takes inventiveness and experience to plan a journey and to create a successful business plan.
A business plan that is a set of numbers on a spread sheet is as accurate as a satnav (just so long as the correct data was used in the first place and it is up to date). By default it lacks contours and features as well as the context of its surroundings.
All too often today business plans are produced for someone else (usually an investor or a lender) and are of little use to the people who need the practicality of a mission, vision and values. A strategy and a plan that is created for the needs of the businesses can be adapted for other uses at a later date.
So next time you are swearing at your satellite navigation for taking you on a detour, just remember that as the driver, you should have an implicit sense of direction. The only navigation tool in the car should be attached to the dashboard, not to the steering wheel.