In the book by Gary Hamel and C.K Prahalad, ‘Competing for the Future’, the authors launched what since then I have called ‘the 3 Ds’ referring to a Sense of Direction, a Sense of Discovery and a Sense of Destiny. Although they explained these 3 Ds in quite ambitious business performance language, I always thought that the 3 Ds had their own little sisters in the form of a small ‘d’, perhaps less grandiose but incredible powerful. I have used them in my leadership programmes since.
Direction: not necessarily in the sense of conquering the Himalayas (or taking over a competitor or ruling in the kingdom of market share) but ‘direction’ in knowing where one is going and, in a rather prosaic way, taking others with you.
Discovery: not the discovery of the breakthrough and then the new cure for the incurable illness, but a sense of ‘discovery’ of curiosity, challenge, perhaps seeing alternative worlds.
Destiny: not the grandiose ‘Save the World’ or ‘feeling the burden of history’ (a la Tony Blair) but a sense of ‘destiny’ in achieving something nobody else can do.
I use the Pub Reunion test in my leadership programmes. An old management team gets together again after 10 years. Nobody is in the same position. Perhaps most, or all, have left the company. Write down your 3 small Ds, I say, starting the sentence as ‘We were he ones who…’ ‘What would you like to see or hear? I constantly get extraordinary accounts of small Ds.’ We were the ones who changed the way X was done for ever’. We where the ones who did Y collectively, who engaged everyone in Y, who took the organization in a completely new direction Z’.
Remember your 3 small Ds and play with them , with your team. Ask everybody to give some serious thoughts and bring their answers to your next management team meeting. You may hear something remarkable from people who would not have shared their 3 Ds, had you not asked them.