My husband Tom has a great sense of direction. You can plop him down in a city he hasn’t been in for 15 years and he’ll lead you to the nearest movie theatre or McDonalds through all sorts of detours without a pause. He’s even gotten us out of the woods (literally) with just a topographical map and a cheap compass (probably from a “kid’s meal”) after we misplaced a trail in a wilderness reserve.
My sense of direction, on the other hand, is terrible. I don’t try to hide it. If Neiman Marcus wasn’t in the Galleria (which is outside the 610 Loop in Houston) I’d never go there at all. Ever. I can find my way to the shoe department at Neiman’s, but when I’m in a big hotel, like our NACLNC® Conference hotel, I’m particularly challenged. Tom will often use the ring of my cell phone as a sonar signal or beacon when he’s searching for me.
Business consultants (often the ones who have never managed a business themselves) will tell you: have a plan; have a plan; have a plan. I may not have been blessed with a sense of direction but I have been blessed with the ability to plan. I wake up each day with a plan. But I also know that we’re probably going to bust that plan before it’s even 9:00am. The Institute’s Strategic Plan is 5,000,000 pages (really 63 pages), but even that can’t define the whole direction the Institute is traveling in. We head off following our plan towards one destination and often end at another. For example, we’ll start a meeting on one project and before we know it we’re all fired up, brainstorming a new resource for legal nurse consultants.
Mapquest is great for getting you from Point A to Point B with clean, convenient restroom stops in between, but it has one severe limitation – if you hit a detour – you’re stuck. What kind of sense of direction do you have for your legal nurse consulting business? What kind of plan are you using in your life? Are you using something limited like Mapquest or a more flexible GPS?
My car has a talking GPS. Unlike a spouse, it politely tells me when I’ve made a wrong turn or detour (“Please, please turn left at the stop sign, please.”) and points me on the best route to my destination. The most successful Certified Legal Nurse Consultants have a little GPS voice in the back of their heads that tells them when to detour from their plan and when to get back on it. When opportunities arise they’re able to detour from their plan and are primed to seize opportunities as they present themselves.
You need to develop a GPS-like sensibility for your CLNC® business. This will help you cope with the detours, expected or unexpected that show up. Walk into an attorney’s office for an interview and there are five attorneys, not just the one you expected, and your GPS will route you into the correct mode to address them all.
An attorney calls you with a case outside your area of expertise. Your inner GPS tells you to surf to the NACLNC® Directory website and locate a CLNC® subcontractor. A CLNC® colleague calls and asks you to testify on your specialty and you’ve never testified before. Does your inner GPS plot the quickest way out of town? No, it points you to research to start boning up on what you already know well and then to Nordstrom for a power suit (the one you’ve secretly been lusting after) to wear to your deposition.
Our inner GPS isn’t always right, it may sometimes be wrong, but it’s still our inner compass. It’s guided by what we’ve learned, what we want and what we need. It has our best interests in mind (but bears watching). Sometimes it’s a polite voice and sometimes it’s not so polite (screaming to get our attention). It’s 50% intuition, 50% training and sometimes 50% absolute total guesswork. It makes sure we return to our path but frees us to take advantage of the occasional detour without panic or fear (at least too much fear). Occasionally, like the one in my car, your inner GPS needs to be updated (or rebooted) to adjust to current conditions – but then it works like a champ again.
When was the last time you touched base with your inner GPS? Was it today, yesterday or when you enrolled in the CLNC® Certification Program?
What’s the last thing your inner GPS told you? Did you listen? I’d like to hear your inner GPS stories and so would your CLNC® colleagues. So please comment here.
Success Is Inside!