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The way you drive is the way you arrive
driving style

Feel-good and feel-bad benchmarking

I have seen many companies celebrating their ranking by all kind of benchmarking. Often, none or very few even understood what and how was specifically compared. Apples and oranges were simply called fruits and the ranking made sense again. Teams in the headquarter cascaded gigantic spreadsheets all the way down to the last corner of every market. Deadlines were set tight and, hence, no time left for the critical eye let alone any questioning of the method. Operations of the daily core business had to slow down as every team had to deliver the numbers. Aggregations didn’t match. Some quick adjustments needed to be applied and magically the data was consistent. Nobody cared if it reflects the reality. Like a beautiful map of a sometimes not so pretty territory it was celebrated and shared. I feel good, stated the CEO and so did his board. One or two years fast forward: the CEO steps down. The CIO of the year is gone.

Another case: executive team is too shy or too scared to act and communicate directly with their teams. They prefer hiring external experts who twist and shake the benchmarks till they have the right result: the company has a problem. The executives have a sense of urgency, an objectively produced reason for their teams to feel bad. People get fired. External experts have a follow-up project. Well, well, and so it goes.

Post-merger nostalgia

In other words: when a common windshield, a joint future is not installed in time, people use the rear mirrors to find their mental homes. Homes that only officially do not exist. In reality, they still do exist. Most PMI programs fail due to this principle. It’s basically the opposite of our experience with real houses: A real house, if not taken care of, decay. A mental house, if not taken care of, gets stronger and stronger.

Driving lesson

My driving teacher gave me a simple and useful advice: Keep your eyes on road, look forward and use your foresight to be prepared to react quickly. Use the side mirrors, before you switch lanes. And from time to time it is good to check the rear mirror. Especially, when you have to break. I thought it is quite useful for the life outside of the car, too.

So you are in the driver seat. What do you do?

Yes, what do you do? What is your driving style?

Are you looking in the rear mirror most of the time? Is the past driving you? Your childhood, where you come from? Your parents? Your last job? Obviously, when you look in the rear mirror, you slow down, you don’t look ahead. You focus on the things in the past.

Or are you paying most of the attention to what is going around you? The side mirrors take all your energy. You like comparing yourself to others. You are conscious of your peers, your school mates, your colleagues, your competitors. Needless to say, that it makes to a perfect follower rather than a leader.

Maybe you even don’t care about all of that at all? Maybe you just drive as fast as you can. No matter what happens behind and besides you? It makes you the fastest one, yet, it makes your trip also the most dangerous one.

And then there is a balanced driving style that most of us would learn in the driving school: 80% attention for the windscreen, for the future; 10% of the time checking the rear mirror and 5% each for the side mirrors. Especially, when you switch the lane.


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