Don't Go Too Fast

Don't Go Too Fast

A new leader enters the organization, he takes time to evaluate the current situation, loads into the starting gate, hears the imaginary gun and takes off.

I’ve been there. During the interview process I was informed of some organizational deficiencies needing to be addressed. After a few weeks on the job I was able to witness those first hand.

And I was off, working to make changes. I thought I had it under control, leading the team.

During stage 16 of the 2018 Tour de France, the leader of the stage was maneuvering quickly down a mountain trying to add distance between himself and the competition.

In preparation for the race, the rider had reviewed the course many times, evaluating the risk, the potential problems and where speed could be gained.

During the stage the leading rider was taking chances trying to get ahead, trying to win. Then disaster struck. His strategy for the all out win literally came to a crashing stop. He was going too fast, he took a risk he didn’t need to take and in doing so lost the possibility for a win.

Here is the footage of the crash:

As I watched the video I realized how this bicycle race was so similar to one of my many leadership mistakes leading a new team. Yes, I knew what needed to be done. Yes, I knew we could make the changes. Yes, I went too fast and in doing so the team fell apart, and I left the leadership role.

What did I learn?

  • Yes, know the goal

  • Yes, evaluate the course

  • Yes, set a plan to navigate to the goal

  • BUT, don’t go so fast your team can’t keep up

If I had to start over with the team I would

  • Cast the vision for an attainable goal

  • Give the team time to absorb and question the goal

  • Invite them to help set the course/action steps to reach the goal

  • Empower the team to carryout their part

  • Meet regularly for updates on progress

  • Hold the team members accountable to the agreed upon action steps

What is the difference between the two lists? Instead of setting the goal and telling everyone to get to work you cast a vision and give the team opportunity for input.

Going fast might get you to the finish line first, however, a reckless speed could have you crashing long before reaching the goal.

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