Skip to main content

4 Leadership Lessons from the Pace Car

I can remember the first Indy 500 I watched.  Specifically, I can recall my captivation with the “pace car.”

The very first pace car I watched "set the pace" was a Chevy Corvette driven by Jim Rathmann. I remember asking my friends in the room “what exactly does a 'pace' car do and why is it needed?”  Without any hesitation someone in the room replied “it paces the drivers to ensure they are up to speed and ready to start the race.”

I now realize that the “pace car” is actually a “pace setter" and it does more than just "set" the speed.  

When I think of coaching, teaching, mentoring etc., it is evident that "pace setting" is a quality of effective leaders.

Pace setting creates opportunities to grow success by setting expectations.

4 Leadership Lessons from the Pace Car

#1 - The pace car ensures that the track is safe.

Effective leaders ensure that organizational culture is both physically and emotionally safe. Yes, the "pace setter" may be circling the track with cars following like ducklings, but, at the end of the day the "pace setter" is monitoring the track for surface safety, unseen obstacles and anything that may pose a safety risk to those in the race. Effective leaders do this for the teams they lead.

#2 - The pace car confirms all participants are on the track and engaged.

Effective leaders "take roll" (figuratively). They ensure those they lead are active participants with an understanding of purpose. Further, they ensure those they lead in the correct place and mentally engaged into what is being done. At the onset of projects they ensure an even, priority-based safe start (literally).

#3 - The pace car establishes a manageable and starting speed.

Effective leaders establish expectations. Like the pace car, they set the speed and ensure that "starting speeds" are clearly established and manageable.

#4 - The pace car exits the track and monitors the race.

Effective leaders allow the "racers" to race (figuratively). They do this by stepping back and avoiding "micromanagement" at all costs (literally.) Further, effective leaders monitor "what" is happening and when they are needed, they, like a pace car on the track under a caution flag, step back into the role of pace setting.

Your "track" may be a classroom, an amusement park, or a hospital. Regardless, if you are a leader, you set the pace.

Failing to understand the value of "setting the pace" on "what" you do may slow personal and organizational success and growth.

As always – if you would like to learn more about this topic - or - book me to speak with your organization, operators are standing by!


Popular posts from this blog

Understanding the "Engagement Zone"

The “engagement zone” is an unseen, yet powerful arena, in which an emotionally driven encounter occurs that results in a transaction between parties or their respective representatives. These transactions may be: Between two individuals Amongst or between a group or groups of individuals Amongst or between an individual and a representation (website, app, etc.) of an individual or organization. Transactions in the engagement zone may or may not: Be authentic Be effective Be meaningful. Within the “engagement zone” a wide variety of transactions can occur. These transactions range from moments that “last a lifetime” to moments that “drive us to rage.” Make no mistake, the “engagement zone” is powerful and it is packed with endless possibilities. When people enter “the zone,” they typically enter with a purpose. They may enter to buy or sell, teach or learn, improve or grow, lead or follow, etc. The goal, most often, is “success” within the zone. Two Fa

Friday with Friends - "Relationships Matter"

As humans we crave relationships. We are relational beings. Need proof? Next time you go on a plane pay attention to how many people who are seemingly strangers will talk to each other for the duration of your trip. Relationships matter not only to us in society, they matter to us as educators. When I was in college, my education professors always put an emphasis on student relationships. Making sure we interact well with students. I wish that I could provide a silver bullet to developing relationships with students or a simple ten point checklist to follow to create better relationships with students, but the fact of the matter is that I would then be lying to you. It's funny. At points I have heard stories of some students who misbehave for some teachers. Those same students are like angels in my class; I love working with them. Sometimes I have students who challenge me but don't challenge their other teachers. Relationships depend entirely on t