Are we going on a cruise or expedition? It is an essential question to answer early and quickly clarifies who we need on the team. Cruises have plenty of room for entertainment, amenities, food, fuel and shops. Only a fraction of the individuals on the vessel are committed to the act of navigation. Passengers may set their own schedules as they please. An expedition requires focus as only a few members composes the party, food is limited, specific skills essential, and resilience necessary.
It is easy to allow a project to become a cruise instead of an expedition. We add members to the team because more individuals involved feels safer. We establish advisory councils, funding circles, and ‘friend of’ clubs. Our attention is torn as we try to keep all the individuals engaged and entertained. People come and go as they please. Accountability is limited.
Expeditions are the fore-bearer to task forces. Name a task force, arm it clear outcomes, resources, and then allow it sufficient autonomy. Immediately there is a sense of ownership and accountability. The team is composed of individuals with specific skills. It is hard to hide in a group of seven than a committee of fifty. Remarkable outcomes generate from a few individuals marking the way for others to follow.
Cruises can be fun. If our hope is to entertain a large number of people then bon voyage. Rare is the cruise boat passenger who disembarks believing they were essential to the success of the voyage. The great expeditions provide not doubt that every member played a role in the success or failure of the quest.
Cruise or expedition?