President's Message: Where Are You Going? How Will You Get There?

Jun 30, 2016

Like many of you, I was recently at the NRA Annual Meeting in Louisville. Wanting to save a few bucks, I hopped on the shuttle bus from the expo back to the Galt House Hotel late Saturday. I’d taken the same bus Friday so I was pretty sure I’d get back in time to change clothes for evening events. While in my seat, I finally got to check on emails and phone messages. I briefly looked up once during the drive and saw the downtown skyline. I knew we were close so I went back to work.

I called up my phone’s GPS to discover we were a few miles south of Louisville. As I was alerting folks we were “a bit off course,” the bus driver finally realized it as well. He came over the loudspeaker to say, “Folks, I’m here from Alabama to drive bus for the show and I’m a bit lost. Does anyone know the way back to the hotel?”

“Yes. Yes I do,” I said.

So with the assistance of the guy in front of me, a former military man it turns out, we provided directions. As I noted the right exits to take, the retired military fella would shout out, “Take exit One Bravo to the right. Once through the exit, you’ll take the next exit, also One Bravo.” He wanted the driver to clearly understand to take exit 1-B and not 1-A or 1-C.

Perplexed, the driver asked, “What in the world is Bravo? I don’t see a Bravo?” The gentleman explained, “A is for Alpha, B is for Bravo, C is Charlie. It’s the military alphabet. It helps avoid confusion.”

We finally got the driver within a block of the hotel, though he still wasn’t sure how to get pointed the right direction. It was then I heard, “Please just pull over. We can get there from here.” A young dad and his family were at this point all too happy to walk the remaining distance.

As I’m stepping off the bus, I noticed the driver had Google Maps called up on an iPad mounted right by the steering wheel. The Galt House Hotel was highlighted as the end destination. All I could do was shake my head – the road map was right there in front of him, he just didn’t know it.

All of it got me thinking… it can be really hard to know where you’re going in businesses sometimes. It’s also challenging to know how to get there and whether you’ll recognize it when you do.

Here are a few thoughts on making sure your company stays successful in uncertain times:

  1. A map is essential. If you haven’t created a strategic map or plan for your company, you should.
  2. Once you have a map or plan, refer to it often to stay on course.
  3. If you get off track, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Your team may have some great suggestions to get you back on target. Just make sure you’re all speaking the same language and everyone has a clear understanding of the new strategic direction.
  4. If you decide the current strategic plan just isn’t working, it’s okay to get off the bus. Sometimes you need to strike out in a different direction and create a new plan altogether.

I know summer is traditionally a slower time for the industry and usually a great time to make plans for achieving your objectives. But with all that’s happening out there right now, those plans may need some regular course corrections.

Finally, please make sure you’re making plans to join us for the NASGW Expo in Kansas City this October. Everything you need to help can be found at

There’s a few more laughs to be shared about that bus ride and learning the military alphabet. Be sure to ask about it next time I see you.

Until next time,

Kenyon Gleason 
President, NASGW

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