I am born, raised, and have never lived anywhere other than Southern California. You can say I know how to get to places in SoCal without using GPS. I mean, I can go 75, 100 miles to another major city, and I never have to use GPS. However, when I want to leave my home where I live now, where I’ve lived for over 20 years, to go visit my parents where I lived my first 20 years of life, and the distance is less than 20 miles, I need to use GPS.

Seems strange. Well, I’m not using GPS for the actual directions, I need to use GPS to understand which route is the optimal one to take, and how long is it going to take me. I need to be able to let my parents know what time I’m arriving. So when I’m using GPS in and about the area I have spent nearly five decades of my life, I am not using it for the actual turn-by-turn directions; I am using it as an assessment tool, to understand the optimal details to get me to my final destination.

You should be using GPS in your everyday communication – especially as a leader.

You may know exactly what your objectives are in your next email. You may know what outcome you want in the next conversation you’re having. You may know exactly how you want your presentation to end. All of those places that you communicate, you may have a really crystal clear goal, objectives, or outcome at the end. But are you checking the GPS for the details on the optimal route to get there? And what do I mean by that?

I mean, are you checking in with yourself? Are you aware of your current state of mind, of your current emotions, of the situation you’re about to be in, of the people you’re about to interact with? Are you aware of the details of the other party, whoever’s on the receiving end of that email, of that conversation, sitting in the audience for your presentation?

It’s really important that you don’t just know, “What’s my destination,” but you do a little GPS check-in with yourself to understand what are the details and how aware am I of all of the little intricacies, so that you can choose the optimal way to reach that final destination. Flip on that GPS today before you jump into your next communication!