Garage Gigs for Growth (#4)
When I started riding a motorbike I pretty quickly realised I had to change my thinking, increase my focus and most importantly take different action. And whilst learning from mistakes is a great way to do that, its also a risky endeavour to be making mistakes on a bike. I am no special rider, I reckon I am still learning heaps even after a few years, but I enjoy it.
There is a great deal about riding a bike that is just like leadership in business but lets see what you think – take a look at the quick video and let me know if you agree?
When I learnt to ride this bike, I learnt three lessons pretty quickly. All three of those lessons, I reckon, are as applicable in business as they are to me staying upright on this bike. The first lesson I learned was that this thing's a lot easier to turn and move and is more agile when it's moving. It weighs about 200 kilos and it's quite hard to manoeuvre unless it is moving. I think that's a lot like corporations these days when markets are shifting and everything's changing potentially, and you're going to be able to adapt a lot faster if you've already got your business mobile, you've got intrapreneurs in it looking for ways to explore and find new areas of growth, test different things. Exploration and experimentation: two key things.
The second thing I had to learn about riding the bike was when I was turning around a corner and I'd chosen a direction that I needed to commit to it. Because if I panicked halfway around a corner and got a bit more upright, that would just shoot me straight off the other side of the road. From a business perspective, once you choose a new direction, it needs some level of commitment to explore all of the little alleyways off the side of that direction but not to stop. Not to panic when things aren't going your way. Not to panic when results aren't coming. Little shifts; not big shifts, not big panics.
The third lesson I had to learn was the most important. If I'm riding along and something pulls out in front of me from the left, my natural instincts would be to turn the wheel away. Unfortunately, what that does on a bike as opposed to a car is it drops the weight and takes me straight into whatever's come into my path, so my natural instincts are wrong. Counterintuitively, what I need to do is turn my wheel towards the threat, and that will drop the weight on this side and I'll swerve around it, called counter steering.
For all those business leaders out there, when you face threats, startups, new competition in your market space, it's important that you don't use your natural instincts, which might be to return back to some of the behaviours that have served you well over the years. You've risen to a leadership position because you've got a lot of things right. The trouble with that is that times are different now, and doing the things that you've done over the past couple of decades may not be the right things to do in the next decade or even in the next five years. Things have changed.
When you see a threat, try to avoid your natural instincts and going back to the ways that you've had in the past, efficiency, optimization, and look for big shifts, jumps, leaps, changes that you need to do which will be counterintuitive, but it will work.