The Art of Navigation: Why You Need a Business Navigator


What is navigation? According to Wikipedia, ‘Navigation, in a broader sense, can refer to any skill or study that involves the determination of position and direction.’

In its purest form, I work with business leaders to help them understand the position of their business, and make smarter, more effective decisions about what direction to go in. I am a navigator.

I wasn't always a navigator; it took one of my clients to show me that I am. Previously, I was confused: I'm not a coach, although I use coaching methods at times. I'm not a consultant, as I only have ready questions, not ready answers. I do mentor, but I'm not a mentor. I sometimes advise, but I'm not an advisor. You can imagine how confusing other people found all of this. Unable to determine a clear definition for my offering, I created the concept of the Art of Navigation.

Now, you might be asking yourself why a navigator is essential in business? The root of my answer to that is in the sorts of questions I think should pre-occupy the mind of an MD or a CEO:

Where are we going? Why are we going there? What's draws us there?
How are we going to get there? What will it take to succeed?
What challenges lie between us and our goals? Are we taking the best route?
What is the best vehicle for the journey? Do we have it? Could we?
Are we making progress? If not, why not? If so, why so?
Have we discovered somewhere better that we could go?

What all of these questions seem to have in common, is that they are about where we are and where we can go: position and direction. They are about navigating your potential business future.

A useful definition of strategy (from Max McKeown) that I find people engage with very quickly, is in the form of the following five questions:

1. Where are we now?
2. Where do we want to be?
3. What has to change for us to get there?
4. How will we make this change?
5. How will we get and use feedback?

These questions lead us back to position and direction again, but with the added element of feedback; of observing whether we are taking the journey that we planned. To this end, navigation is about strategy, value proposition, business model, and what I call, 'forensic strategy' or 'measuring what we do'.

So, why might you need a navigator? I think anyone who is doing something challenging needs help. I created the Art of Navigation out of beautiful mistakes and hard-won learnings from over 15 years of my own and others’ entrepreneurial experiences. It is a holistic approach - a system - that helps a CEO or MD to steer their business in the right direction.

If you want someone very focused on the journey - how you will get there, the perspective to understand if it's the best journey for you, and feedback about whether you are on the right journey - then a navigator might be just what you need.

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