Lately, I’ve been teaching my son’s girlfriend and my daughter both. It brought to mind the early days of me learning to drive a car over 30 years ago.
I was late learning to drive as my dad was a very difficult person to learn from. He’d been an RCMP officer and had taken all sorts of aggressive driving courses as part of his job. He’d also seen his fair share of car accidents and whenever I did something foolish behind the wheel he would remind me of some accident he cleaned up where they were body parts all over the road after someone did just what I did.
To say I was a nervous wreck with him as my copilot would be an understatement.
One driving lesson that really sticks in my mind. I was asked to pull onto a busy street in our 1969 Plymouth Sports Fury. I left the somewhat slower street to pull onto the four-lane road and gunned it. The huge powerful boat of a car oversteered swerved wildly and I ended up partly on the sidewalk with my dad freaking out beside me.
He leaned over to grab the wheel, stomped on my feet (and the brakes) and screamed and yelled. I resolved not to do any more driving with my dad and signed up for lessons.
As I recall, my gaze was never very much further than the hood ornament — about 10 feet away.
As my dad tried to compose himself and drive us home he told me that I wasn’t looking far enough down the road. I needed to fix my eyes off in the distance to where I wanted the car to go, then with some finesse, the car would go straight. I had to learn when to accelerate and when to let the wheel slip through my hands so the car could correct.
Some business owners drive their companies the same way. Over steering. Under steering. Punching it at the wrong times.
When was the last time you thought long-term about your branding and messaging? Have you enlisted your design partner in helping to map out a long-term approach? Positioning, messaging, strategizing and then executing based on a plan? — Or are you dictating moment-by-moment actions to your designer?
Looking further down the road can help you make the right choices today that will ensure you arrive in the right place next month or next year. There is a lot of value in planning.
Then again, the ride can be pretty exciting with all that swerving….