Fluid Power Journal

It’s a Journey, Not a Destination…

By Paul Johnson, President, Aggressive Hydraulics

Competitiveness and the drive to win are recognized as fundamental qualities in the success of individuals, professionals, and businesses. Achieving goals is a gratifying experience. However, true success lies in not only winning but capitalizing on the benefits and momentum generated while cultivating a sustainable culture amidst the pursuit of ever-evolving objectives. Overemphasis on a singular victory or destination may impede constructive progress toward the broader mission or goal. Ralph Waldo Emerson’s quote, “Life is a journey, not a destination,” appropriately captures this sentiment, applicable to both personal and professional aspects of our lives.

Examining the distinctions between the journey and destination goes beyond mere semantics. The intentional use of the term “journey” holds the potential to shape and define the culture of a company. Recognizing a journey as a continuous process of learning and evolving, where every experience, whether positive or negative, contributes to growth and development. Moreover, embracing the journey concept creates opportunities for enhanced engagement and inclusiveness among employees and co-workers.

The inherent human inclination towards stability and sustainability aligns well with the journey perspective. People are naturally drawn to being part of something significant, fostering intrinsic motivation. By believing and framing the company’s endeavors as an ongoing journey, it not only acknowledges the value of the present experiences but also instills a sense of purpose and participation in the collective pursuit of greatness.

Our company has discovered the value and rewards of disseminating messages regarding critical issues for our sustained success by employing the concept of our journey and way of life. Embracing this perspective emphasizes that a journey is an ongoing process, marked by numerous goals and victories, even as internal and external variables change over time. This approach acknowledges the dynamic nature of our path and reinforces the idea that our journey is continuous, and filled with evolving objectives and achievements.

An illustrative example of a critical issue journey within our company is the challenge of employee retention and recruitment. The issue of worker shortages is a longstanding concern that extends beyond local, state, or national boundaries—it is a global challenge. Recognizing that our greatest asset is our human resources, and acknowledging the inevitable retirements as we grow, we understand that there are no quick fixes for this critical issue.

Instead, we approach it as an ongoing journey to become the “Employer of Choice.” This is not a destination but a continuous effort to develop inertia and momentum in all the nuances that define an employer of choice. Competitive wages and benefits are essential components, but it goes beyond that. We strive to create a workplace that is not only productive but also a great place to work. For our employees to believe and own that our best days lie ahead is crucial. We aim for a workforce that is proud, fulfilled, engaged, and incented, not just surviving but thriving.

To achieve this, we commit to out-recruiting, out-training, and out-developing personnel compared to any employer in any industry within our region. While we celebrate wins such as the development of internship and apprenticeship programs, internal training, leadership development, and collaboration with local, county, and state agencies, we understand that this journey has no fixed destination. The bar continues to be raised, and we cannot afford to rest on our laurels. Wins along the way are incidental and contribute to our ongoing journey, maintaining the momentum in pursuit of our greater goal.

A journey mindset involves finding joy in the ongoing process and celebrating incremental progress along the way. This mindset cultivates a culture where innovation flourishes, and the creation of new goals is a natural part of the journey. It embodies a continuous pursuit of improvement and adaptation. 

In contrast, a destination mindset is characterized by the belief that happiness or success will be attained upon reaching a specific endpoint. This perspective may lead individuals or organizations to fixate on a final goal without fully appreciating the evolving nature of the journey.  This can also lead to a loss in momentum for employees, supply chain partners, and valued customers.

Other critical issues and journeys are Core Values, Cleanliness, Quality, Automation, Productivity, and Supplier of Choice. Each of these areas represents an ongoing journey where constant improvement, adaptation, and the pursuit of excellence are integral to sustained success.

Help Lead your organization through determining and articulating your critical issues and respective journeys. Because “it’s a journey, not a destination”. 

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