Leadership and auto racing have a lot in common. At any point you can have multiple leaders, but only one gets to be the winner. Leadership involves more than getting to the front for a while. It’s really more about the victory than the showmanship. Although much work has been done to develop innovative leadership practices that take leaders to the front of the pack, not every application of those practices has met with success. This is due, in part, to the fact that “discussions of leadership development have a distinctively practical bent, while discussions of organizational structure appear more ethereal. Let me explain.
When it comes to leadership, as in racing, the evaluation of success is complicated due to issues with timing. Everything looks good for a while, but rarely continues on that path. For this reason, the moment in time an evaluation takes place can often be the main determinant of what that evaluation reports. In motorsports, every car in the lead is doing great until it crashes, but you cannot always assume the crash was due to driver error. Sometimes the problem had more to do with the machine than the operator. The same holds true in organizational leadership. Every leadership style looks great while its working, but at some future point the organizational structure will fail to respond correctly to leadership directives due to structural design flaws. It works until it stops working. In motor sports a post-crash investigation is all encompassing because both car and driver are physical entities. Because organizational structures are more abstract than concrete, we fail to take the impact they bring to the equation into consideration when a leadership initiative crashes and burns. Therefore, it is safe to say, the disconnect between the evaluation of leadership theory and the blind acceptance of an organizational structure is problematic to say the least. Why crash and burn when you can make a plan to finish the race and take the checkered flag? At the Kannenberg Group, we specialize in aligning organizational structure, corporate culture, and leadership stylings in such a way that brings the company, the employees and the leaders across the finish line as one. After all, you’re a team. Start thinking like one. We want to learn more about the race you’re running. Subscribe below to learn more about what we do, and ensure your time out in front brings you and your team to the victory you deserve.