The Crosswind Compromise

Its not what the vision is. It’s what the vision does.

If you are flying a plane destination A to destination B, where do you think the pilot points the plane? Do they aim directly at their destination B?

No. Any cross wind will push the plane off course. It will end up somewhere else. Any headwind will slow him down and require more fuel. Any tail wind will push him along quicker and require less fuel.

There are many crosswinds in life and work. Our moods, office politics and ability to name a few.

So when we do set a goal, why do we aim for the destination and expect to get there?

By the time these crosswinds have buffeted any particular initiative, the outcome is at best misleading and at worst disappointing.

What crosswinds are blowing in your organisation and which way are they blowing?

Aim high. Push the boundaries. Expect better.

The inspiration for this metaphor comes from this post on Brain Pickings, and in particular the video of Viktor Frankl.

The example of pilot navigation is close to my own heart. Thinking of the crosswind metaphor, being able to identify it, and to call it out is important and necessary. It all boils down to one word.


Context is everything.

Teacher and Student

In March 2003 I was working at as an Junior Implementation Consultant specialising in Oracle Financials, a large Enterprise Resource Planning product in the same space as SAP.

I had been in this role just over 9 months.

Everything was new to me. The role of a consultant, the product, the projects themselves, and the tasks I was required to complete.

On one occasion I was asked to deliver training for the Accounts Payable (AP) module. My role was to teach the current AP team in Singapore how to use the new module starting 1st April.

There was one problem. I barely knew anything about Accounts Payable processes, let alone the module and how it functioned.

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