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When Business Roadmaps Are Useless

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Processes are important. Systems designed to follow a standard, replicate quality, and improve efficiency are also important. All of these may be connected to a plan, a map. Business roadmaps aren’t always the right tool. Some people aren’t wandering because they lack direction.

You wouldn’t suggest using a map of the United States to help someone get across town, find the nearest gas station, or the best coffee shop. Better yet, you wouldn’t hand someone a globe at Central Park North in New York City and tell them to use it to get on the subway and go to Wall Street.

Modern technology has provided us with some easy methods to find our way from point A to point B. Many people have an electronic map, a way finder, and it is in their hand, purse, or pocket. It will likely even speak to you. Maps are useful but not for every directional purpose.

Business Roadmaps

Businesses and organizations are always trying to find their way. They go to great lengths to plan, design, and deliver a roadmap for employees to follow. They talk about timelines, milestones, and goals. All very important, but it might not help employees find their way or understand why.

Guiding the way with a roadmap is useful to those who already see the big picture and who are committed to it. Everyone else, those who are uncertain, not committed, or lack trust for the described outcomes really do not have use for a map.

Sometimes what employees need are not more directions. They don’t need more standards, a process, or a system. All of those things are useless when they don’t understand why they should go.

Pictures and Purpose

What they really need is someone to connect them with the purpose that leads to the big picture. They aren’t lost, a lack of direction is not why they are wandering.

Most people can follow a map, or have someone tell them when to yield, turn, or stop. The solution might not require more direction.

Productivity, efficiency, and quality really don’t matter that much when they aren’t committed to the purpose.

A globe doesn’t help much on the subway. Handing them business roadmaps won’t be helpful if they aren’t lost.

They’ll reach for the map when they understand why.

Have you answered the question about why?


Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a four-time author and some of his work includes, Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce and Pivot and Accelerate, The Next Move Is Yours! Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

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