I posted a couple months back about this post. I said, “read it.” I was reviewing my posts for the last several months and looked and felt that the advice was wholly inadequate, so I thought I would tempt you with a little bit of Leadership Freak Dan Rockwell’s excellent post.

Seriously, you owe yourself the favor of reading the post. Dan’s posts are always excellent, but this drifting is a particularly pernicious thing because we often don’t realize it is happening…. until we are in it thick and it is slowing us down.

Leadership Freak


Life goes where you look.
Drift is inevitable.
Course correction is normal.

Cars and motorcycles drift where drivers look. Skiers and runners go where their eyes go. Individuals and organizations drift toward short-term views and urgencies. Drift demands intervention.

Uncorrected drift always end badly.


“Everything’s running smoothly,” may indicate drifting. No one notices gentle drift. Sudden changes and giant shifts grab attention but drift invites slumber.

Drift always becomes crisis. Organizations quietly drift until someone looks around and says, “How the heck did we get here?” That’s when finger pointing starts. But fingers often point in wrong directions.

Drift is always leadership’s failure.
Neglect allows drift.

Organizations drift because:

  1. Pointing out drift makes you look foolish because drift is no big deal, at first. Other’s wonder what you’re all excited about. They say, “Chill! It’s no big deal.”
  2. Day-to-day dominates attention.
  3. Busyness is honored.
  4. Productivity isn’t measured.
  5. Urgency defeats…

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2 thoughts on “Drift

  1. On the other hand, subtle changes can produce a change of direction too, like someone at the top of a hill on a sled. You’re going straight down the hill, but if you shift your weight or just slightly shift the runners, you will end up at an entirely different place at the bottom of the hill. Change doesn’t have to be excruciating. Change can be made in small subtle changes that produce a great difference in your life. Small subtle change can drift you to the right place….

    • Hi Gyja,

      There is no question that small deliberate changes over time can be a great way to succeed I the long run. Dan’s point, which may not be entirely clear if you only read the excerpt here on Leaderclip is that people sometimes stop focusing on what they want and start looking at other things that take them away from what they really want… often without realizing it, and always with bad consequences.

      It is simple but not easy to be focused. Doing what you propose is the type focus-and-activity we need to keep moving toward our goals.

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