Leadership: Law of Navigation

Anyone can steer the vehicle, but it takes a leader to navigate the course and win


To succeed you need to have a clear vision. If you can’t see the target you will miss it. However, you will never hit a target you don’t have. A target is essential for success. You need to set targets and goals for yourself and people in your organisation to succeed.


Once you have goals or targets you can achieve them in several ways. The easiest way is to model people who have succeeded before you. You can model their thoughts, beliefs and actions. You can learn about them from books or personally if you know them.


If you want to become a millionaire or become a doctor, there is a clear pathway. It has been done by thousands of people. If you follow the plan and work hard you will succeed.


When you want to achieve something that no one has done before or you want your team to be the first one to achieve something. In such cases, the team needs a leader who is able to navigate effectively towards the end goal. If it’s a life and death situation then a good leader who can skilfully navigate the path is critical. Even when it’s not critical the need for leadership is still essential. Poor leadership leads to confusion and people go in all sorts of directions. This is a recipe for disaster. Anyone can steer the ship, but it takes a leader to navigate the course.


“A leader is someone who sees more than others, see further than others and see before others” Leroy Eims in Be a Leader You were meant to be.


For large organisations the leader needs to be able to clearly see ahead because it is much harder to change course in the middle. Many people are affected compared to when a leader is alone or has only few people with him. A leader must have vision and take people through a process to give people the best chance of succeeding.


Good leaders draw on their past successes and failures. They are valuable resources. Success gives you confidence and self-assurance. Failure is however more valuable because you can learn a lot more. Don’t cover up or ignore your mistakes. Make sure you learn from them. Improve your knowledge, judgement, character and become more conscious of your errors. If you don’t learn from your mistakes you continue to fail again and again.


Leaders tend to be activists. They look forward and move on from their mistakes. A good leader navigates the path for the followers. This requires analysis, reflection and correction to learn and grow. The best leaders think and reflect on their decisions, actions and results. This process develops perspective, emotional integrity, confidence, big picture thinking and transforms experiences into valuable lessons. These give the leader advantage when planning the next steps.


A good leader draws on his inner thoughts and feelings and also examines the external conditions before embarking on a course of action. Both tangible factors such as finances, skills and resources as well as intangible factors such as momentum, timing, culture and team spirit are considered.


On his own a leader is limited. There is normally vast knowledge and experience in an organisation or team, therefore a great leader draws on the knowledge and experience of team members. Top class leaders and navigators draw on ideas and knowledge many sources. Leaders talk to lots of people, listen to their team and mentors. They always think team rather than relying solely on themselves. They recognise that together everyone achieves more.


A leader is positive and confident that he can lead the team to victory. You must have faith that you can get your team to the end goal. If you are not confident then you won’t convince others. Be realistic and face the facts. You must see the obstacles, face and overcome them. Achieving balance between optimism and reality, intuition and planning and faith and facts is challenging but is essential if you want to become a leader who can navigate the path effectively. You have faith that you will succeed in the end and also confront the brutal facts of your current reality. A leader who cannot navigate through rough waters, will be liable to sink.


Remember PLAN AHEAD.


Predetermine a course of action.

Lay out your goals.

Adjust your priorities.

Notify key personnel.

Allow time for acceptance.

Head into action.

Expect problems.

Always point to successes.

Daily review your plan.


The major barriers to planning are uncertainty about the future, fear of change, ignorance of key facts and lack of imagination. Ultimately, it’s not the size of the project that determines its acceptance, support and success. It’s the size of the leader. Leaders who are good navigators can take their organisations to the moon.




  1. Take time to reflect on your experiences, successes and failures. Schedule it in your diary and write down your thoughts in a leadership journal.


  1. On major projects do your homework. Gather information from many sources and mentors and then create a plan of action.


  1. Do you rely on facts and figures or intuition? You must know your preferences and tendencies and then have members in your leadership team who is opposite from you and then you can get a balanced perspective before navigating the ship.

Posted by ypsociety