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    Lessons from the Race Track

    I’m a car guy. A little while ago, I had the privilege of taking my car for two days of race track racing. The experience was intense, amazing, and humbling. Beside me sat my instructor – a quiet, patient coach who spent two whole days teaching me what it really means to drive fast.

    The lessons I learned with him extend far beyond the track. Here’s some of the highlights:

    Smooth is fast.

    This is the mantra of performance car drivers, yet the first thing we do when we can go fast is mash on the gas, brake as hard as possible at the last second and hammer into the corners. In doing so, we put excessive wear on the car and end up being significantly slower than if we focus on being smooth on the controls.

    How often do we make snap decisions or drop everything to rush XYZ out the door? Is doing so actually making your business meet your goals more quickly, or is it wearing out your team, products or customers?

    Roll into changes, don’t force it. Smooth control let you navigate the track at the top speed your car can handle. It does the same for your business.

    Plan several corners ahead.

    After getting a corner very wrong, I found myself out of position for the next corner. It took me several corners to get back on the line and speed I wanted to be at. I quickly realized the importance of planning: When entering a corner at high speed, you have to plan several corners ahead and know exactly where you want to be at every step.

    One of the keys to flawless execution is planning. You have to understand your goals, strategy and how to maximize every step along the way. Failing to plan far enough in advance leaves you unprepared for what comes next and leaves you reacting.

    Focus on your line, not the car in front of you.

    Our natural tendency is focus on what’s right in front of us. Several times my instructor would point out when I was following someone instead of running my line. Doing so would often put me out of position for my next corner or have me at the wrong speed.

    Competitors have their own path to follow. It may or may not be right for you. Don’t be led by them – focus on the right path for you.

    By day two of driving I found myself really understanding these lessons and was able to apply them to my driving. The results were huge. The track felt smooth. I wasn’t reacting anymore. I wasn’t abusing my car. I was less tired after each session.

    Most importantly, I was having more fun and performing better.

    Have you made the same mistakes with your team?

    Mike is a problem solver, technology guru and project superhero.  As a partner at Incrementa Consulting, his focus is on leveraging technology and great processes to grow your business.  You can read more of Mike’s thoughts on Twitter, the Incrementa website or on his MikeKnapp.ca.

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