In the military, one of the most critical pieces of gear any leader had for a mission was a map of the area in which we would be operating.  The map was used at the earliest stages of mission planning and was constantly updated through reports and intelligence gathering.  When a commander at any level asked for the status, the team would gather around the map to see everything in context of what was happening on the battlefield.

We could quickly see where we were having success or failure, and to identify opportunities and obstacles to properly coordinate resources in advance to maintain our momentum on the battlefield.  Small unit leaders would use the map to plot their course, ensure they stayed on course and keep from getting lost.  The map was critical to our success at every level, and our communications & effectiveness were significantly hindered without one.

In our lives, we also use maps for almost everything.  When we are traveling to a new destination, we reference a map to determine the route we should take, identify points of interest we may also want to see along the way, and determine obstacles we want to avoid like a major city during afternoon rush hour.  If our destination is known like our daily commute, the map has been firmly imprinted in our brain and we can make the drive without conscious thought!

When we visit a new shopping mall, we’ll look at the store directory to pinpoint the stores we want to visit, and use it to coordinate our rally point with our family and friends.  Even if we have never built a new house, we know how important it is that everyone involved is using the same and most up to date version of the blueprints – also a map.

When we attend a sports arena, there is a seating chart, or map, that shows everything in context: sections, rows, seats, gates, field or court orientation, and vendor locations.  Knowing the relationship of each of these to the other is how thousands of fans navigate an event relatively safely and smoothly.

Maps serve as powerful tools in our lives.  So where are the maps for your organization?  I assure you they do exist!  They exist in your mind and the minds of your teams.

From my experience, I estimate that about 70% of the maps your teams are using are probably accurate.  So that implies that about 30% are inaccurate.  The challenge is that it’s hard to determine which portions are which within each person.  So, your team is likely communicating and making decisions using different versions of the maps.

Your results are a direct reflection of how aligned your maps are.  Frustration, lack of accountability, finger-pointing, and distrust are some of the characteristics of teams that are misaligned using inaccurate maps.

Trust, hope, confidence, accountability, open communication, and encouragement are just a few characteristics of teams aligned using accurate maps.

Are you being intentional to discover and share your maps so that your team can align behind accurate ones to be all on the same page and hold each other accountable?

This is Jason Walker sharing an Elite Team INSIGHT.