In a recent presentation, I addressed the important of finding your “True North” which has been a principle in leadership circles for decades. I was intrigued by “True North” and merely “North.”

My research took me to How Stuff Works and I recommend the site to you if you want to learn more about “True North” versus just “North” on your compass.

In simple terms, North on your compass is affected by the magnetic fields of the earth which are constantly changing. True North is a concept, not a place, and refers to your commitment to values, morals, and ethics.

To make an analogy, North on your compass that reacts to earth’s gravitational pull represents the constantly changing world and the relentless challenges in your company – requiring endless adjustments.  

True North inside of you guides your decisions, your reactions, and your conversations with colleagues and employees. Knowing your True North give you courage and strength which translates into stability in relationships.

In professional growth and leadership terms, True North is a universal set of ideals which provide a compass that transcends any organization, strategy, or culture. If you find your True North values, you strive for ideals that increase your professionalism and stature every day.

The True North concept gives you a moral compass. Jim Burke, the former CEO of Johnson & Johnson, once said, “Without a moral compass, you’re awash in chaos.” I agree with him. Without a True North compass inside of you, you are like a weather vane constantly turning at the whims of the wind. 

When you extend the True North concept to your organization, you inspire employees to set their eyes toward a purpose, always acting in ethical ways. Opportunities for improvement abound in your personal life and in the organization where you lead.

It is the persistent practice of following your True North that make daily improvements in your life that makes you a leader people want to follow.  When employees follow True North every day in your organization, you become a first-class organization.  “

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