Business Navigation – The Missing Link

When a ship gets to a certain size a navigator becomes an essential part of the team on the bridge. The captain has the skills to get the ship from A to B – it’s just that there are so many other activities to be covered that there is no time to dig into the details of charts, weather, tides and even if they could they probably don’t have the skill to configure the complex technology that steers the course on modern tankers and container ships.

The definition of the verb “to navigate” as taken from the Oxford Dictionary is to “Plan and direct the route or course of a ship, aircraft or other form of transport, especially by using instruments or maps”. A navigator has intimate knowledge of the ship such as what depth it needs, how long it needs to turn or stop and what impact winds and currents will have. The navigator also understands the technology used to set and maintain the course of the ship.

A business also needs a navigator:

It is easy to take this analogy from a ship to a business. The business navigator supports the leadership team to take the business to its strategic goals by gathering and interpreting relevant data points from inside and outside the business. Roles in a business are by design “not in the detail” or immersed in the detail for a portion of the business operations and there is often no one with the right level of detail across all parts of the business.

Technology teams tend to focus on the important “how” aspects of a problem such as design, capacity, security. Business teams struggle to articulate the issues to be solved in a language that can be picked up and addressed and are often unaware of the full range of options available. Business navigators sit at the intersection of business teams and technology teams to interpret requirements and articulate what is possible in order to expand the level of thinking.

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