This story was shared to me a long time ago so I may have changed it slightly, but I think you will get the idea.
One sunny afternoon two ants from different colonies met beneath a grand old apple tree. In customary fashion, the two ants exchanged greetings and signals about where they were from. The first ant came from the West near the old barn; the other from the East, just passed the well.
After formal greetings the ant from the West asked the other ant what he maybe scouting for. The East ant tilted his head up towards a fresh shiny apple was up in the tree. “I’m here to get that apple.”
With a polite nod, the East ant scurried up the tree. The ant quickly moved up and down, back and forth across each limb in search of the path that would lead him to the apple.
From the ground, the ant from the West watched with great intensity and curiosity as the other ant’s search continued. Strange, he thought, why was the ant from the East working so hard to find the apple?
Eventually the ant from the East returned back to the ground below only to discover the ant from the West carrying the prize apple away.
“Stop” he signaled. “How did you get the apple before me? I tracked each limb and backtracked every possible path to the apple, yet here you are with the apple. How?”
The ant from the West set down the apple and climbed on top and spoke. “You see, it’s quite simple ant from the East. As you raced up and down, back and forth across every possible limb trying to find the right path to the apple, I simply began at the apple and followed the path back down to the ground before climbing the tree to get the apple. You see, I saw the end and worked my way back to the start. This way there was only one route needed to take.
With that, the ant step down off the apple, picked it back up and headed back to the old barn and to his colony while the other ant remained looking up at the grand old apple tree with amazement and without an apple.
Like any venture, it is better to understand the outcome than it is to rush into it and needing to try various options until you discover the solution or before someone else does. Strategic planning combined with visual thinking and graphic facilitation are powerful tools in clarifying goals, directions and tactics needed to achieve those goals before venturing forward.
So, before you race up that tree searching for the apple, stop and map out your journey first and save time and energy.
Thanks for reading and journey ahead like the ant from the West.