February 20, 2009
Watching the Daytona 500 unfold this past weekend I couldn’t help but think of our business.
It wasn’t a usual 500. It wasn’t a usual 500 winner. But both seemed appropriate to me.
As the clouds gathered and it became clear that the race may not proceed as expected, things on the track changed. Many drivers began to act erratically. But a few drivers reacted positively, carefully changing their game plan, doing something about it to put themselves in a position to win.
One of them was Matt Kenseth, who hadn’t been heard from much during the race. Matt started near the back and typically worked his way quietly and methodically through the field.
As the rain started and the final caution was thrown, Matt ran to the front.
Then, when the red flag was waved, and the cars were brought to the grid for the rain delay Matt chose to stay at work if you will behind the wheel with the cover over his car while other drivers ducked for the dry of their trailers or the spotlight of ESPN’s cameras.
During the off-season you won’t find Matt jetting off to Thailand, Jackson Hole, or any other exotic destination. You’ll find Matt at home in Wisconsin, not far from his family or his race shop there, preparing for the season ahead.
Here’s the point for this week.
That Matt Kenseth won Daytona wasn’t a fluke of weather or NASCAR timing. Matt Kenseth won Daytona because he is Matt Kenseth.
His quiet leadership, recognition that things were changing, decision to act, and work ethic all combined to put him in victory lane.
Our situation isn’t much different, well except for the fact that we don’t get big cardboard checks and don’t get to spray Coke on everyone when we make a sale while confetti falls from the sky. Otherwise, things are comparable.
See, our race is not going as expected. We are behind and need to find our way to the front. Our competition is fierce and can’t be counted on to behave in ways we’ve come to expect. Storm clouds are all around us.
Let’s tear a page from the Matt Kenseth playbook.
Winning the 2009 tire selling race will require hard work, perseverance, the courage and force to do something different as quickly as we can, and the self-confidence to go about it for all the right reasons.
So, get out there and run to the front. And don’t worry about the rain, you can’t stop it…you can though do something about it.
Race hard. Persevere.
If you like the blog, you’ll love the book. To purchase a copy of Phillip’s book, The Not So Subtle Art of Caring: Letters on Leadership, from John Hunt Publishing, London, please follow this LINK. “Letters” is based on 85 story-backed lessons Phillip used while leading actual teams to accomplish extraordinary things. It is an outstanding resource for those who wish to commit to becoming the sort of leader that people WANT to follow.
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(Photo credit: Grindstone Media Group, Shutterstock.com)