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Navigating 'The Drift': Staying Focused and on Course

Navigating 'The Drift': Staying Focused and on Course
28 Jun 2024

Written by Trailer Bridge CEO, Mitch Luciano.

I recently pulled my executive leadership team out of the office and to the beach to reflect on where we are as a business, our future and how we get there. For me, the beach is a place where I find peace and joy, and the ocean, I’ve found, has a funny way of teaching us an important lesson about checking in and staying focused.

If you’ve ever been in the ocean, you know exactly what I’m talking about but if not, let me describe it for you. When you get to the beach, you pick out your favorite spot and set up your stuff, and depending on the type of visit it is – a solo trip or one with the kids – the set-up process can look very different. If you know, you know, as the kids say these days.

Back to the story. You wade into the ocean to hang out and cool off, maybe even have some fun in the waves, but after a few minutes you look up only to find you’ve drifted away from your stuff. You are now down the beach without even really noticing you were moving – the undercurrent of the tide has gently pushed you. We’ll call this ‘the drift.’

We often find ourselves in ‘the drift’ when it comes to our businesses. We get caught up in the fun, the challenges, the day-to-day undercurrents and when we look up, we’re off course. This is why we, as leaders, must be sure to look up every so often to ensure we are still in alignment with our ‘stuff’.

In the spirit of this mid-year note, I want to share a few thoughts on how you might avoid ‘the drift’ and stay focused on your stuff.

Have Clear Vision

We must set a clear vision for our teams about where we are and where we are going. They want to know the long-term plans for the organization, and its our responsibility to help them understand how their role contributes to the bigger picture. You can’t identify you’re drifting unless you know where you started.

Create Opportunities for Connection

Relationships are everything in this industry – really, relationships are everything, period. It’s important to consciously choose to create opportunities for connection, conversation and reflection. Ask questions, get to know each other and foster an environment where people can dream big, together.

These moments – like my executive retreat at the beach I mentioned – build trust, so that when we do find ourselves off course, we can lovingly redirect.

Prioritize Joy & Fun

Life can be hard. Work can be hard. And with 25+ years in I can confidently say, this industry can be hard. But you know what else it can be…fun and exciting. Look for those moments of joy and have fun finding creative ways to navigate the hard. Celebrate wins – big and small – with your teams. Take the selfie. Eat the cake. Swim in the ocean. Just ENJOY the process.

Don’t Fear Change

Sometimes if you find yourself drifting in a different direction, it may be a sign that you need to make a change. Maybe the stake in the sand you originally made doesn’t serve you well anymore. Don’t be afraid to move, to change direction to better serve the needs of your team, your business or for yourself.

We have 6 months left in 2024 and they will go by fast. My challenge to you is to take a moment to check-in with yourself, your team and your business; are you in alignment with ‘your stuff’ or have you drifted. Identify where you are and then put into practice the tips above to finish the year strong.