“When we are sure that we are on the right road there is no need to plan our journey too far ahead. No need to burden ourselves with doubts and fears as to the obstacles that may bar our progress.”

– Orison Swett Marden

A boy grows up on the wrong side of the tracks and falls in with a bad crowd. A problem student in school, spotty work history, thefts, assaults, domestic conflict at home and now he is facing a workplace violence charge. After a long criminal history he is incarcerated and is destined to spend a life in crime or in prison. Where did he go wrong?

This may be a simplistic view of the course that many lives have taken but it drives home a point. This was not a coincidence but the result of decisions that brought him to this point.

Life is a path with many crossroads that people can take. At each fork of the road, there are both pros and cons to each decision and direction taken. If you take the wrong path it leads to another fork in the road where the opportunities and decisions have ever increasingly diminishing returns.

An effective society follows the same direction like a stream. Whether that stream takes twists and turns, the water flows in the same direction, at the same speed, to the same destination.

History has shown great examples of how a single minded society can achieve great results. Great battles have been won because of leadership and clear understanding of the goal. The pyramids were built by people who devoted their entire lives towards a single purpose.

In contrast, prisons are full of people who followed the wrong path and did not conform to the societal stream. As corporations are just microcosms of society, the same holds true. Employees who work against the common goal through self-serving behaviours such as thefts, harassment, sabotage, workplace violence; all defeat the good of the many.

Trend: The general direction in which something moves tends to continue moving in the same direction.

Corporations define their `streams’ through mission statements and visions, a road map whereby all employees should be similarly aligned towards a common goal. They plot out `paths’ through policies and procedures to give employees clearly defined guidelines to follow that will result in ever increasing returns. They then measure their successes through benchmarking and trending.

Benchmarking establishes the baseline of various indices from which to gauge the success or failure of various programs used to improve productivity, moral, loss reduction, etc.

Trends are the interpretation of available historical data that is used to predict future results. Business owners and security professionals alike, use trends in order to predict the likely frequency, location and type of events. They then use this information to prepare for this eventual result.

“A good system shortens the road to the goal.” — Orison Swett Marden

By using all the tools available, through knowing your destination, planning your route, constantly re-evaluating your position, individuals and corporations can reach their goal quicker and easier without falling off the path.