(and a story…)
Many years ago I was walking along a mountain ridge in Scotland, in fog. This was before everyone was using GPS devices. The ridge had a shallow slope on one side, and a sharp drop on the other. For a while we walked along the shallow side quite comfortably, keeping the rocky ridge just visible in the fog on our right, until after a while I checked my compass again. We seemed to be walking almost in the opposite direction to what I expected. We stopped immediately and studied the map, concerned as to how reality and expectation had grown so far apart.
The reason is easy to see from this (amateurish) diagram – we had continued walking (left) past the point where one ridge joined another. Our mistake was in not counting our footsteps as we went, a useful technique in fog. Because the walking on the shallow-sloped side was easy, we became complacent. Had we counted our steps, we would have known that after the next (say) 300 metres we should look out for the ridge on our right, which was where we should go.
There are various metaphors for a business, but let’s not go there…
The most memorable thing was just much we had diverged from our objective without realising. We were nearly going in the opposite direction. It took an additional input (the information from compass) to make us re-assess our position.
By the way, the hill was An Teallach, and ever since I have counted my footsteps when walking hilltops in fog.
If you run a business and you want to chat with us about your direction, strategy and finances, give us a call. We don’t pretend to know more about your business than you, but you’ll find us a useful sounding board to explore the courses of action open to you and to help you decide which way to go.
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