My good friend Mike Richmond, who advises companies in the packaging sector on strategy, likes the quote: “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there.” He tells most every group this, he’s a huge advocate for visioning and foresight, along with strategic goal setting, and roadmapping. His clients know where they are trying to go, and work to choose the right road to get them there.
Mike’s quote has various sources and attributions. It’s sometimes called Hildebrant’s Principle.
The Cheshire Cat from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, weighed in in along the same lines:
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.
–so long as I get SOMEWHERE,” Alice added as an explanation.
Oh, you’re sure to do that,” said the Cat, “if you only walk long enough.”
–Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Chapter 6
Mike, Hildebrant, and the Cheshire Cat are right. You ought to figure out where you are trying to go. This is critical to anyone, any organization, and it ought to underpin any foresight effort.
So what should you do first when you want to explore your future? If you begin by looking at the trends at play, shaping your future, you’re doing something understandable, and quite typical, but perhaps dangerous. What’s the danger? It’s that you will accept future possibilities as what you are subject to, rather than what you can shape. So you need to not just know where you going, you need to decide where you want to go.
So start with a vision: your vision, the one you prefer. Do that before you get on the road to go somewhere. Get on the right road!