Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Vehicles and drivers


The aim of most car manufacturers is to win a Formula One motor racing championship. Now, there is no way they can achieve this without a vehicle (let’s just consider the rest of the team part of the vehicle for the time being) and a driver. Both items are vital to achieve this aim.

If either of these components don’t work or don’t work well together then there is little chance of winning the championship. You can have a great driver and lose because of a lousy car and likewise, a fabulous car and a lousy driver. So either one could be a limiting factor.

Lets now translate this to a business. If the business is going to achieve the dreams of an owner it needs to not only have a successful driver but also a vehicle. If a business is not achieving the goals of the owner then these are the first two places you need to start looking for a solution.

Firstly ask yourself, is the driver the right person? If you are running your business, are you in fact the right person to be doing that? If you are also the person doing the customer service, accounting, marketing, etc are you the best person to do that? The less a driver has to worry about the more they can focus on getting the best performance from the vehicle. That’s why they have a team of people to help them. Someone to look after the engine, the tyres, the fuel and so on. At the speeds formula one cars travel you certainly don’t want to have a driver worrying about those things do you. Isn’t a business similar? If you’re driving it and you have lots to worry about, aren’t you are going to have trouble keeping it on track aren’t you? Can you perhaps do  better job somewhere else in the team?

Now consider the vehicle. Is the business (or occupation) you’re currently in really going to allow you to achieve what excites you? Is the business (or occupation) going to provide you with the end result you are looking for? Win the world championship if you may? Like I said before, you may be the most brilliant business person (or driver) but with a hobbled and limited business (or vehicle) you’re only going to be frustrated aren’t you?

So if the driver, and let’s assume it is you, needs to improve what can be done? You must continually work to improve your skills, your knowledge and experience. To survive the rigours of driving at such speeds one thing Formula One drivers need to be is pretty fit. That’s not something that just happens, it is not something that gets easier the older you get and it is not something you get while driving in a race. It is something that needs to worked at outside a race but ultimately helps a driver perform better. Let me ask you, in relation to your business (or position), what are you doing outside of that to improve your skills, enhance you experience and knowledge?

If, however, the vehicle is the issue what are the alternatives? You could tune it but maybe it would be better to abandon the vehicle altogether for something else that better suits the track and the driver. What’s the use of driving around in something that doesn’t work for you? It is only going to cause greater frustration and thereby impede performance and the ultimate goal even more. Ask yourself, is this the best vehicle for me to win ‘my championship’? If not, then maybe a change of vehicles is in order.

I feel there are a lot of similarities between Formula One racing and business. The teams that manage to get everything together win championship but they don’t achieve this by chance. They closely examine both the driver and vehicle all the time to determine whether they have ‘the winning combination’. If not, they don’t simply settle, they make changes because they want to WIN.

If you’re not looking to win ‘your championship’ then you’d be better off heading to the pits and retire. Let the real racers get on with their jobs.