Monday, December 6, 2010

orienteering in business

I'll translate this old text I wrote in 2007 in Finnish.

Think about orienteering competition where some of the participants would be in the forest without a map and compass. And also some of the control points would change their location every once and a while. Thinking in strategy terms, the map is the roadmap comprising the knowledge on the present and future situation. The compass is the strategy which doesn't necessarily take you to the goal but gives you an stable direction to lean to.

An experienced orienteer reads the map while running but not from the point he or she is at the moment but in order to create a picture of the scenery behind the next turn. And as the journey progresses, verifies that picture by making observations of the details of the scenery.
In an easy terrain you can put the point of reference or goal far away, in a difficult terrain you have to take smaller steps.
An orienteer can't also run straight to the goal, but one has to find all the control points.

What if you get lost? Of course you can start following another orienteer but he can be as messed up as you or just heading to a wrong control point.

Entrepreneurship compared to orienteering is funny in a way that you can set the locations of the control points by yourself and also draw the map and calibrate the compass. The goal is still the same for all: profitable business.