Leaders are enamored with speed.  They love it.  They are all NASCAR drivers in their mind.  In fact, I actually had a boss who had taken NASCAR driving lessons.  I found this out when we were traveling together and our flight was leaving in 1 hour, but we were 2 hours away from the airport.  No problem, he was driving and drive he did.  I can’t say how fast we were going (for obvious reasons) but I CAN SAY WE MADE IT TO OUR FLIGHT ON TIME!  Ironically, when we got to the airport we learned our flight had been delayed.

Robert Hagstrom writes in his book The NASCAR Way: The Business that Drives the Sport of when he rode with Elmo Langley, NASCAR’s official pace car driver.  According to Hagstrom, “…nothing prepares you for the feeling of tearing around a modern speedway at 180 miles an hour, the car holding a tight curve while tilting on a 25-degree bank – I am safely buckled into the passenger seat, all I had to do was grip my knees, open my eyes, and try to remember to breathe.”  I can see him in my mind.

What most people don’t know is that NASCAR races are usually won and lost by the pit crew.  Most pit crews consist of 7 people, each with a specific task to perform.  When the driver pulls into the pit all 4 tires are changed and the car is refueled all in less than 20 seconds.  Each person must perform their task flawlessly because the winner is determined by a matter of seconds.

The raceway is not the only place for speed.  Leaders take the track when running their business or organization.  The pedal is to the metal.  They don’t want to stop so they ignore their crew’s warning signs.  Other leaders pull into the pit without warning and are critical when their crew doesn’t do their job.  That leads to some leaders doing the driving and the crewing.

The skilled leader knows they can’t win the race without their crew.  They make sure they have the best crew possible.  That crew takes care of their leader because they know the race can’t be won without a skilled driver.  If each does their job they both enjoy the victory lap.

Tom Cairns

co-host JobTalk1

Author: All Systems Go: How to Launch a Successful Job Search