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Journey - Review

Have you ever got lost and in that moment of loneliness phoned a friend or relative for help and advice? Almost certainly your tone of voice will tell your listener that you are concerned and unsure as you tell them, “I’m lost.” Before they can give you any help, there is one key piece of information that they will need and so the infamous words will be asked of you, “where are you now?” The most obvious answer to that in your moment of panic is, “If I knew that I wouldn’t be lost!” But of course, to find any way forward, to provide any instruction or advice the rescuer needs to know your position and what you see around you and which way you are facing.

Review is a key part of journeying and a key part of leadership. Where am I now? What do I have and don’t have available? Where do I want to be? What are the steps I need to take to head there? In my book, Everyday People, Everyday Leaders I explain in chapter 8 the six key parts of leading people on a journey.

  • Purpose – What is your vision and reason for the journey?

  • Position – Where are we now? What is working and what is not?

  • Proposal – What do you want it to look like?

  • Priority – What is your priority or focus?

  • Partners – Who can help you achieve this?

  • Plan – What are the key steps to get there?

Reviewing and understanding our position when we start, and also in, our journey is crucial for the journey. Do this inaccurately and it can affect the success and progress. This comes in two parts:

  1. Confident celebration

  2. Critical consideration

Confident Celebration

Note that this one comes first. It is all too easy to jump straight in with the negative of what is wrong. The impact of this is that we get fed up and down. Reviewing the positives, being thankful for what you do have will release the hormone DHEA in us. This is great for breaking down Cortisol (the stress hormone) and can therefore free up some creative thinking in you. It also allows you to get a full picture of what and who you have available to you at this time, which can guide you for ideas too. Involving the team in this enables them to celebrate too.

Critical Consideration

Any review needs to be open and honest. This starts with creating a culture of where it is ok and safe to admit areas of weakness. As a leader we can start a vulnerability loop when we set the standard of admitting areas that we have done and that we admit the weakness or areas that need to improve in our own practice. The Japanese have a word ‘hansei’ which describes honest assessment focusing on what went wrong and plans to ensure it improves. Toyota, the car manufacturer, are famed with having a ‘hansei-kai’, reflection meeting to always look at problems however small to improve them. In my work with leaders, we look at how you improve and make gains from a situation. These three steps help:

  1. Say what you see.

  2. What do you think might be causing it?

  3. What are the possible ways that might improve it?

Saying what you see, enables you to look at it more objectively. What is actually happening?

Be curious

Chris Voss in his book ‘Never Split the Difference’ talks about looking for the Black Swan. We are not used to seeing black swans, but they do exist. He says that often we will base our perceptions on what we know already, but we should be asking "what is it that I don’t know?". So, when we are looking at a situation, we need to be curious. What is happening? What am I seeing? What am I not seeing? What is it about the tone, the body language? What is their background, their situation that might be coming into play? As well as asking what do we see, we need to ask what do I not see? What am I missing? What is the black swan here?

Often, we don’t know for certain what might be contributing to an issue. But by being curious about the different things that it could be, by asking questions and considering different contributors, we don’t rush into the initial idea that often ends up missing some key considerations. Curiosity doesn’t kill the cat; it makes it live longer!

A balanced view

The philosopher Epictetus said “Men are disturbed not by things, but by the views which they take of things.” It is so easy when ‘lost’ on our car journey to allow it to consume us with thoughts of how lateness will ruin our reputation or that we will die in our car and our skeletal remains will be found by archaeologists centuries later. However, if we view it as an adventure, to learn something about ourselves, to learn who are friends are, to see new countryside, to learn how to manage a difficult situation and keep communication with our intended destination, then our view of the situation is very different and actually liberating. As I often say to people, it is about the game we play in the mind. So, as you review your current position, consider your ‘view of the things’. Be curious and see this as an opportunity to discover and develop. This is not a binary pass/fail moment. It is an opportunity to explore, grow and develop. And it all starts when you review an accurate picture of your current position.

If you would like coaching on reviewing your situation, do get in contact with us. We are happy to work with individuals and a team to help you get a clearer picture.

Everyday Leader is here to empower, inspire and equip you to do that If we can help you find a way forward, through coaching or training, do make contact with us. Do let us know if we can be of help to you by contacting us at


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