In auto racing, there’s an expression that drivers win races in the turns.
Unlike straightaways, where most drivers can keep their vehicles reasonably competitive with one another, curves upset the status quo. When a driver hits a turn, that’s when the unexpected can occur, when people make mistakes, and when a racer can gain an advantage.
Drivers who end up in the winner’s circle excel in the turns.
I believe that organizations are similar to race car drivers. They also win in the turns.
A business may be neck and neck with its competitors through ordinary times, but when change happens, that’s the opportunity for a company to accelerate, gain an advantage over its competitors, and stand out. It’s also in the curve that an entity can make a mistake, miss the opportunity, and fall behind – sometimes way back from the pack.
Let’s extend this analogy one step further. Just like race car drivers and organizations, you and your team can win in the turns. While many seek stability and try to maintain the status quo, wise leaders recognize that curves are inevitable. Change is always on the horizon. They manage to focus their energies in the right places despite the turbulence, continue to deliver results, and invest time to capture what they learned in the process. Leaders and teams become better, not because of the straightaways, but through the turns.
Do you and your team members struggle or soar when you hit a turn? Does change make you better or cause you to fall behind?
I invite you to take some time this week to think about the changes that you and your team have experienced. Use this week’s video and tool to assess the curves in the rearview mirror and answer these critical questions:
- What was the last major curve you and your team encountered?
- How did you react to the curve? What worked? What didn’t work?
- What did you and your team learn from the process?
- How are you different because of the curve?
- What can you do differently when the next curve arrives?
Use the answers to these questions to become better as individuals, stronger as a team, and more capable to handle the next curve.
Patrick Leddin, PhD is a speaker, global leadership consultant, and The Wall Street Journal bestselling author of The Five-Week Leadership Challenge. Patrick is an Associate Professor at Vanderbilt University with a thriving leadership blog and podcast, and 25-years of leadership experience. He offers an unparalleled mix of academic rigor and real-world experience.