Commenting on my recent post about my book The Language of Excellence, Marshall Martin said that even years later his business vocabulary still includes "ceremonialism, majoring in minors, indispensable man and I-65 North" among other phrases.
Those who haven't read The Language of Excellence are probably wondering what I-65 North has got to do with it. I use “I-65 North” as a metaphor about business. It is also the name of my publishing company.
Business is a journey; one that involves constant change and where success is determined through the eyes of those who judge us. The role of a leader is to get people moving in the same direction toward a common destination with a clear understanding of the rules of the road for getting there. I-65 North conveys the idea of a journey with everyone traveling in the same direction—north. North is analogous to the idea of upward progress (the pursuit of excellence).
While the destination of the business journey is set and communicated by an organization’s leader, individuals are not robots. If you are on the team, it is because the organization believes in you as an achiever, but many things shape how each member of the team performs in pursuit of the destination. There is not one performance style that has a monopoly on success. The analogy of the interstate conveys this flexibility. Individuals determine their own rate of speed on the journey north, provided they do not go so slow as to impede others or so fast as to recklessly endanger others. As an individual within the organization, however, you cannot go south, east, or west. You as an individual are in control. It is your vehicle, but the leader sets the direction and destination.
Business is a journey. The role of the leader is to get everyone traveling in the same direction.
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Published by I-65 North, Inc.