Today’s article is by guest contributor Mona Reiser. I am always impressed at her ability to see how leadership applies in so many places that you wouldn’t ordinarily consider.
A few weeks back, I read an article on Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the USA Today. I cut it out and “sat” on the clipping to ruminate the couple of ideas that I thought had “business/leadership” applications.
As all NASCAR followers and perhaps many that are a couple of degrees removed from that world know that Earnhardt Jr. had “been dealing with on-going concussion symptoms. He used the time between the fog and the headaches to consider his future and not just retirement.” A few more sentences from the article captured my attention:
– “You’ve got to do what’s right for your health and our body and make the best decision for yourself. It affects a lot more people that you, though. You’ve got to make the right decision that’s going to be right for the long haul.”
Although the focus here was specific to JR’s decision regarding his heath and long term viability as a driver; the day in day out decisions that we as leaders make affect so many people in our organization. These decisions have to be thought through and what impact they will have for the long haul. Do we always apply that rule to whatever decision is considered or made? Who does it impact and what is the long term effect on employees; clients; the company as a whole?!?
– In October of 2016, Earnhardt had an “out of body” experiences as he watched the Dover NASCAR race with replacement drivers in his car. “It just really gave me a unique perspective on just being a fan and being a pair of eyes in the garage, getting out of the suit and seeing it from the vantage point and watching everybody operate. It was just really impressive. You can’t see that when you’re actually in there doing it, when you’re in the middle of it. You just can’t really see how everything is moving all along, so I enjoyed it. It was fun.”
How often, as leaders, do we step back and actually focus on how the operation we are leading is actually running? Do we see how delighted our clients are (just being a fan)? How do our employees, supervisors and managers operate in the day to day (being a pair of eyes in the garage)? When was the last time we sat down by one of our folks and actually asked them what they are working on and how do they do their work (getting out of the suit and seeing it from the vantage point)? How well is the team as a whole working together and delivering (watching everybody operate)? Whether you take the checkered flag or have a top 10 finish week in, week out of the NASCAR season; can you apply that to your team and come up with that resonating assessment that JR. made: “It was just really impressive!”