Changing a business has a lot in common with rally driving. Let me explain.
Having dinner with a group of colleagues last night the conversation was jovial but when we touched on a project issue the comment was “Ah, well, that’s a typical Yahoo thing.” I’ve heard this again and again over the last year but I’ve had enough. It’s like the kids saying “but I can’t do it!” when presented with their math homework and me saying “Well yes, you can never do math.” Why would we reinforce the behavior we know is wrong?
We know what we have to do, we know we can change, so let’s focus on where we want to be not on where we are today.
How is this like rally driving? I went on a course a few years ago where they put us in Mk2 Escorts and then took us on forest course. One of the most important things to learn was that you had to keep your eyes locked on where you wanted to be, not on where your car was actually facing. The first time I tried I was flying down a gravel track through the forest and a 90 degree hard left was coming up. The instructor yells the instruction “1/4 turn left, full gas!!” and we’re supposed to be sideways round the corner with gravel flying and a big smile on our faces. The problem is – if you look out the front window all you can see is the trees – giant pines literally a few meters in front of you on a direct collision course. Your brain is screaming at you to step on the brakes or to spin the wheel a full lock but this won’t work. What you have to do is look out of the side window at the road continuing off to your left, then calmly turn the wheel that quarter and put the pedal to the floor. If you get fixated on where you are heading right now, you are unable to execute on a course to get you where you want to be.
And me, well, I panicked and tried to turn the wheel as far as it would go. The instructor pulled on the handbrake and we just pirouetted on the spot. I got it next time though.