By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy
Here’s an idea to help you launch your initiatives more effectively. Reading time: 3:10.
“Move ’em on, head ’em up. Keep them doggies rollin’. Rawhide.”
Those lyrics from the 1960’s TV show Rawhide still ring in my ears. And no wonder. I was fascinated with how the real life cowboys of yesteryear could herd 3,000 cattle over a 1,000 mile route –hoofing through 16 miles a day on average –over two months despite rain, terrain and pain. Amazing since I can’t herd three cats into a room in a warm, comfortable home.
What’s the secret? A quick start.
And that’s an instructive leadership tactic for any complicated project filled with many moving parts.
Turns out that over the first four days of the drive the cattle covered twice as many miles per day as they would average for the rest of the drive. Why so quick a start? Fewer strays from homesick cattle.
Indeed well begun is half done as the Roman historian Horace observed, echoing Aristotle’s notion that “beginning is said to be half the whole.” And German philosopher Goethe observed: “Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Only engage and the mind grows heated, begin and the task will be completed.”
No wonder momentum-charged leaders tear a page out of author Joseph Heller’s notebook. He says that after he has written the first sentence of a novel, he’s “halfway home.” With a quick start comes a momentum that US Presidents ride herd on in their first 100 days in office or a new CEO wields in their first 100 hours on the job.
Accelerate To Exhilarate … From The Start
After all the most effective leaders know that a QUICK start is THE key to success. Careers and projects get off the ground with as much FRONT END acceleration as do 747 jets, burning three times as much fuel on takeoff as they do at cruising speed.
The takeoff is so significant that the race — think of it as a major account to you and me — can be lost in the starting blocks no matter how fast you are. No matter how qualified you are. No matter how experienced you are.
Consider the experienced and highly qualified four-time Olympian Carl Lewis who won nine gold medals in track and field. He proved himself the fastest runner AFTER the start. But his poor starts kept him from winning in the 100 and 200 meter races in his last two Olympics after winning both races in his first Olympics. Poor starts hurt him even though he was the fastest runner, according to James Gleick, author of FASTER. Lewis’s reaction time –upon hearing the starter’s gun fire, was “mediocre ” in Gleick’s analysis. And so Carl Lewis would lose the race virtually before it even started.
That’s why the most influential leaders see themselves as if they were personal electrical generating plants. They have to launch enough electrical energy QUICKLY and POWERFULLY at the start (220,000 volts) to effectively meet the resistance in the wires over a long distance and still reach homes at 120 volts. Indeed effective leaders, organizing their own cattle drive of sorts, accelerate to exhilarate. From the start.
Accelerate quickly out of the blocks to keep your leadership thinking in mint condition.
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Filed under: Productivity | Tagged: Aristotle, boldness has genius in it, building momentum, Carl Lewis, cattle drives, Goethe, Horace, Joseph Heller, Olympics and Carl Lewis, Rawhide, the first 100 days, the power of momentum, well begun is half done |