CEOs running at 200mph in a cloud of dust…, but where are your people?

Bus drivingAs the CEO, you have a lot on your plate. You set the vision, define the strategy, ensure you’ve got the right people. You’re moving 200 miles per hour in a cloud of dust because this stuff has just got to happen! A lot is riding on your skills, foresight and energy.

I have just one question. Are your people right there with you? Or have you left some of them behind?

A friend and I were talking about this yesterday and he shared an analogy that really resonated with me. He said,

Think about yourself as the driver of a bus. As the CEO, you’re up front, steering wheel in hand, big 180 degree view of the road ahead and everything passing to your right and to your left. You know where you’re going, but you also need to be watching for dangers along the way and new opportunities that will make the difference for your success.

Off to the right you see something. It looks like the perfect opportunity. So you pull hard to the right on the steering wheel to move your bus in this different direction. Then you see a critical challenge that could damage your business, so you pull to the left to detour around it.

Your hands are on the steering wheel. You can see where your going. You have the urgency and vision to keep moving.

But where are you employees? They’re in the bus along with you, but they’re in the seats behind you. And there are no windows in the back. They get a glimpse of the view straight ahead through the front windshield, but they can’t see what you’re seeing to the left and right. So when you make that sharp right for that perfect next opportunity, they are sliding across their seats jamming up along the left side of the bus. And when you pull left to avoid the danger in the road, they’re thrown back to the right side of the bus.

Now, they really believe in you. They’ve come on board to give you their energy and commitment to make your vision come to life. They want you to succeed, they want the company to succeed, they want to succeed. At some point, getting thrown from side-to-side causes them to wonder: just where is it that we’re going?

And here lies the challenge for every successful CEO. You must take time from running at 200 miles per hour in a cloud of dust to bring your people along with you. Communication, taking the time to be sure your evolving vision is understood and giving people time to hear about it, understand it, and embrace it is the crucial difference to success. After all, are you interested in being right… or in being effective?

When employees drive your business success…
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