Robert Frost, in his poem "Road in the Woods," looks at the importance of decisions at the fork in the road. Every Expedition has them. Some can be anticipated, others come as surprises.
The Exploration Group is currently at a fork in the road on one of our Expeditions. In reality, it's not so much a fork in the road as it is an opportunity to decide which direction to build the road. The Exploration Group's roads are rarely laid for us, we build them as we go.
When the project started the goal was to build overlapping networks of influence in an emerging industry. Now, eighteen months later, networks are in place and the organization is already seeing its connections, influence and products gaining market share. The unexpected surprise is the speed at which the connections have been developed. This has led to the next phase of the Expedition where the Commissioner is asking, "What's next?"
Our challenge as The Exploration Group is to explore beyond the horizon with a fresh set of eyes. Here is how we are doing that:
Fresh Eyes The old assumptions cannot be presumed to be the assumptions going forward. All processes and relationships are reviewed for how they fit in with what might be next.
New Sources We are looking beyond the historical contacts and sources of information. Though they may still be viable, they are no longer the only sources.
New Places With this Expedition, conferences and professional associations are a critical source of connection. We are looking for new events to attend as well as the next generation of future connections.
New Thinking Explorers must ponder. Thinking and contemplating are dynamic, always present, always happening. When you are doing an Expedition, the focus is on the doing. When an Expedition is being planned the focus is on the pondering. From the outside it may look like a siesta. The reality is that this is the pondering phase of thinking, reading, listening and imagining.
Each of these is a deliberate step. Each unleashes the creation of the path forward. The unknown cannot be managed, it must be imagined, explored and discovered. Then the story must be told and the path created so that others may discover and join the journey as well.