Some leaders amass tremendous knowledge about a given organization or type of work. These people have paid their dues and climbed the ladder. They’ve, “been there and done that.”
As a result, they are good with a map.
Others may have less experience, but are ferocious learners. They learn big lessons from even the smallest of experiences. They are constantly reading about their craft and asking good questions. They put themselves into new, often challenging, situations to quickly gain exposure. What these leaders lack in quantity of time is made up for in quality of experience.
They too are good with a map.
Map readers are wonderful; but arguably insufficient.
In addition to drawing from experience, making connections, and using a map, a great leader also must master the compass.
This is the ability to set a course and navigate an organization through new terrain. A leader who knows how to use a compass is able to keep the organization moving and people on track through unfamiliar experiences. People who master the compass know where they are going.