Over the years, I’ve honed an approach to travel that works well for me. That is no small feat because I have two seemingly conflicting interests. One is to travel as cheaply and as lightly as possible. The other is to be prepared. I don’t always get the balance right. I’ve learned, the hard way, that it is a good idea to bring a jacket in case it turns cold, just as I have learned that heavy bags are no fun to lug on and off trains or to carry up long staircases. I’ve learned to create a plan (and sometimes a back-up plan), but also to be willing to adapt as needed.

As I prepare for my next trip, I am struck by how important an evaluation mindset is to preparing for a trip and what a good metaphor it is for how an evaluation mindset can be helpful to leadership. As you prepare for any type of journey, good planning and remaining flexible are both important.  Most people think about evaluation as an activity that occurs after something has already happened. That’s true, but applying evaluative thinking (or having an evaluative mindset) is an everyday endeavor, and most effectively applied at the onset of something.

Asking questions at the onset (and along the way) can be a simple way to navigate complex issues. Some questions I’ve found helpful are: What do I need to do to be prepared? Who can provide me with helpful and informed perspectives about what to do, how to get ready, and keep me on track? What are the consequences of doing something or not doing something? What are the consequences of over or under preparing?  What would make the trip successful?

What are some ways you plan for a successful journey in leadership?

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