Having parked my car on full lock the other week I spotted something worrying. The inside of my tyres had been wearing unevenly and looked borderline illegal. I had notice a bit of wheel wobble too so realised it was time to get checked out at my local tyre depot.
The chap in charge had a quick look and after a sharp intake of breath I was advised that I needed two front tyres and a full ‘four wheel’ alignment check and adjustment. Having heard the price and doing my own sharp intake of breath I sat back in the waiting room while my car was sorted.
For non-technical people wheel alignment simply means all the wheels on the car are pointing in exactly the same direction. Hitting a kerb or even a pothole can cause alignments to be altered (even slightly) and when they do uneven tyre wear occurs.
After an hour I was ushered back to the desk to be shown a fantastic printed report (best described in modern terms as an ‘infographic’). It highlighted what my car looked like from an alignment perspective before and after they had done the work. The ‘bad’ alignments were pictured in red and the new, correct alignments in green.
The instant I got behind the steering wheel and drove off I could feel the difference and so I felt it was money well spent! I also imagined what that brilliant alignment tool could do, if we had something similar in the world of leadership and management.
Imagine that the leader is the driver of the car and each of the four wheels is a key member of their management team. The leader steers them in the direction that he wants to take them and all is good as they are all heading in exactly the same direction. How easy is it though for the leader to miss the odd mishap, the potholes and the clipped kerbs experienced by their people? The damage may be inflicted by work or personal issues and could be as simple as a knock of confidence or change of personal focus. The problem with minor issues at work is they are the same with our car tyres, a pothole incident can damage the wall of a tyre and in turn that could lead to a blow out on the motorway. A minor issue at work can develop quietly and be easily unnoticed until it is too late.
I could draw other analogies between management & tyres. For example an aggressive driver will wear out his tyres far quicker than a steady one, an aggressive manager will wear out his people quick too! Go around a corner to quick and you hear the tyres scream, in business people tend to scream silently! If the aggressive driver gets it wrong their tyres will ‘let go’ and they will lose control, seen that happen with people in business too!
So if you are a leader and a driver, drive carefully and look after your tyres! Check out their pressures on a regular basis and for signs of wear. Look after them as they are the only thing keeping your car on the road!