What do old tires and leading your business successfully in today’s market have in common? Maybe more than you think!
When I was a kid, most every farm had its own pile of used, worn‐out tires. Those round relics no longer had any real value or use, short of serving as cheap, re‐usable weights to hold down the black plastic tarp sheeting used to cover grain or silage temporarily stored outside. The mass of old tires likely were gathered over time from many local tire dealers as well as those discarded by the farmer himself. We had such a pile. Some tires were wide whitewalls designed for show; others plain and meant for traction. Some were tall and narrow; others wide and low profile.
Each year as I grabbed these old, familiar friends one‐by‐one for their annual, boring duty of providing dead weight for the tarp, I noticed that, while some were of the same size and type, they were each very unique. By their appearance, condition, and wear, each tire had its own undeniable story to tell about the operator who had driven the vehicle on which each had been installed. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that those old tires still speak volumes about how real leadership should look if a business leader truly wants to navigate a long and prosperous road of success. In a real context, the leadership you reveal in your business also tells a story to others of your integrity and ability as a leader. If those old tires could talk, I believe they would convey 5 key principles for all successful business leaders to live by…
1. Over-Inflation / Under-Inflation is Hazardous! Just as the right amount of air pressure is to the tire for safety and longevity, so is the proper amount of self‐confidence to the business leader. Too much conveys arrogance and it is not safe or fun for others to be around. Too little causes unnecessary wear, friction, and instability. Both are dangerous and can quickly land your business operation in the ditch. Therefore, a balanced confidence is essential.
2. Speed Kills! Ever ride with the crazy driver who likes to drive fast and take corners so sharply that your mocha‐latte ends up in your lap? It probably isn’t only the tires getting “heated up”! Whether working with a co‐worker or customer, slow down and show your leadership “driving skills” in your decision making and interpersonal relationships. Work to maintain a steady direction and speed. Provide adequate notice if turns are needed to arrive at your organization’s destination of success safely and with less wear and tear.
3. Inspect and Align Routinely! Tire manufacturers recommend periodic times to look things over and see if any corrections or alignment is needed. This little exercise reduces heat and uneven wear while promoting a smooth, comfortable, and much safer ride. Similarly for the business leader, taking time to Plan Strategically and laying out a clear Vision for your staff keeps everyone’s expectations aligned and heading for the same agreed‐upon goals. Leaders who practice this simple, but often‐overlooked practice, experience reduced wear and last longer. Leaders who don’t, won’t last long.
4. Rotate as Per Instructions! Smart vehicle owners schedule when tires need to be rotated. They anticipate changes and know which tires should be placed where and when. They make any adjustments or changes based on the upcoming driving conditions they expect to encounter. Similarly, successful business leaders take note of how their individual staff performs and carefully rotate or replace positions as needed for peak efficiency. They proactively seek to plan in advance for any staff succession and train accordingly in anticipation of future needs. No one likes an unexpected blow‐out or flat that leaves a business stranded.
5. Keep Balanced! If a leader is to stay well rounded, provide a secure ride, and prevent any bad vibrations or rattles, work‐life balance is a must. Like tires, this also requires frequent monitoring. Allow for adequate time for family, church, hobbies, and exercise, and you will be amazed how things smoothen out!
By following these five principles, your chances of heading down a long and prosperous road of success will be greatly increased. So, what does your leadership “look like”? Make no mistake: Others are watching and taking note of your leadership…and that is really where the rubber meets the road!
Jack C. Randall, CIC, PCLA, PFMM is a visionary leadership expert who helps leaders and organizations facing tough decisions achieve maximum profitability through clarity, direction, and strategic solutions.
As a Speaker, Trainer, Executive Coach and Consultant, Jack can help you and your organization gain the insight, tools, and strategies to become more focused, more effective, more successful, and more profitable.
For more information, Jack can be reached at: www.Jack@WindmillLeadership.com.