Leadership Lessons from Pushing Cars

mg midget

When I was a young Chartered Accountancy student I had an old MG Midget just like this one. A tiny little car (and yes, somehow I fit in it!), it had a faulty starter motor, so I became very familiar with push starting it. As a relatively big and strong guy with a small car, I could do this myself and often had to!

One thing I remember most was that it took a LOT of effort to get the car moving from a standing start, but once it was rolling it was easy to keep going and even to push faster.

Recently I wrote “Move your “NO” to “HELL YEAH!” in which I wrote:

“In recent times I have observed myself showing resistance to certain ideas, saying “NO” to things. To move from a “NO” to a “YES” can take time, energy, breaking of inertia.

So, I decided that where I see myself repeatedly showing resistance to an idea, and where my inner wisdom tells me I really want to, need to do it, I’ll do things differently to break the inertia. I choose to move from “NO” to “HELL YEAH!””

Since that, I found the “pushing a car” analogy useful in supporting a family member around breaking their own inertia around something they were finding hard to change in their behaviour.

Once we reflected on the need to push really hard to break the inertia and build momentum, they chose something they could anchor on that would feel harder than the overall behaviour change they were looking for. They realised that once they achieved that “hard” thing, they’d have broken the inertia and so could maintain and build momentum around that longer term goal.

In business, if your people are saying “no, we can’t do this, can’t change that”, consider giving then an even bigger “no” to change to “hell yeah” to break the inertia, then the lesser goal feels easier.. like pushing a car that is already rolling!

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