Which Way to Success?


Little Red Riding Hood said she was going to Grandma’s house. She seemed to be pretty clear on that part of things. Being able to ‘say’ where we are going, some will tell us, is ‘it’, the golden fleece, the answer to success in business. When the business Executive struggles with this question, things can go poorly.

 If you don’t know where you are going, you might wind up someplace else. – Yogi Berra

A few things seemed to contribute to a less than pleasant or easy trip for LRRH. One is that she repeatedly forgot where she was going, left the path, talked to strangers, did many things that were not ‘toward the goal’. She took her eye off the ball, lost focus. It seemed pleasant to smell and pick the flowers and to respond, to any who might ask, that she was ‘doing it for Grandma’, so who could argue. Two temptations here. One is how pleasant it can feel to get off the path and the other is how we justify what we know deep within and without any doubt, is just an excuse not to do the right thing(s); stay the path.

She advises us, in the Broadway rendition, “don’t place your trust in a cape and a hood. They won’t protect you the way that they should.” Great noticing here. Being cute and looking lovely are not protection against what is real and can cause us to forget where we are going. Faking it by covering things up is a strategy that she tells us didn’t work for her. Can it work for us? Not naming the elephant in the room, holding on to what needs to be released, having ‘hope’ as the primary pillar of strategy, hmmmm? Are we somehow immune from the wolf? Our now enlightened LRRH Executive would uncover and point, without apology, back to the path.

Oh, and let us not cloak a flawed destination, the one that looks like Grandma’s but isn’t. Wrong house, wrong path, wolf ready. Answering the question, “where are we going?” is a fundamental start to a success journey. Little Red and others, have some wisdom to help us journey to our next level of success.

“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.
“I don’t much care where—” said Alice.
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat. – Alice in Wonderland

Interesting how a fairy tale, if viewed through a business insight lens, can bring a nod of recognition, a sigh that says, “yeah, me too”. The fun thing about looking at one’s business through such a seemingly non-business like lens is that it suddenly becomes so easy to analyse my situation. And so easy to jump in and ‘work on things’ even as I travel the escalator or wait a red light. Nice. Why not experience working on my business in a more enjoyable way?

Joseph Seiler MCC