Skip to main content

Edition 261 – Burning Rubber

The 5.0 litre V8 in my 2016 Ford Falcon XR8 Sprint has 345 kilowatts of power at its disposal or, in the old language, 462 horsepower. To put that in perspective, the Ford Mustang V8 Supercar that my team, Tickford Racing, will run in the 2021 Supercars Championship pumps out 447kw. So, the beast sitting in my garage has 77% of the power capability of a racing car.

The problem with all that power is that you can’t floor it from a standstill – otherwise, you leave $500 of premium Michelin rubber on the road, make no progress at all and attract the attention of the Highway Patrol – all with the traction control on! I’ve learned from experience that you need to ease the power on, whilst at the same time, ensuring the conditions are right.

The same happens in business. You can’t just expect to flog it each day and hope that you’re going to achieve top performance. I’ve seen business owners go hard, early and maintain an unrelenting pace all day. They don’t switch off. They don’t stop for a lunch break. They power from one job to the next, without taking a moment to stop, think, analyse and then figure out:

  1. Should I be doing this?
  2. How can I be doing this better?
  3. Can someone else help me do this?
  4. Am I making money doing this?

I’ve found that with my Falcon XR8, when the tyre pressures are at 40psi, there’s the weight of a full tank of fuel in the car and a dry piece of asphalt in front of you, you can get going quickly (and within legal limits) without compromising the machinery or, for that matter, the driver. That came through trial and error, a bit of reading and talking to others who share my passion.

One of the reasons business owners keep going at this, frankly, ridiculous pace is that they’re operating in their own bubble. Sure, they’re talking to suppliers, to employees, to customers and to others that can help them in their line of work. However, invariably:

  1. They’re not bringing into their business life a confidante who questions what they’re doing and why they’re doing it.
  2. They’re not talking to other business owners who, irrespective of their own line of work, can prove to be a trusted sounding board.
  3. They’re not listening to those closest to them, such as their spouses or life partners who, more often than not, have the advantage of a sideline view to what is happening and where the problems lay.
  4. They’ve not asked themselves, what’s my long term goal with what I’m doing (and let’s face it, how worthwhile is the journey if we don’t know the destination).

For those of you out there reading this today with a full diary, a list of outstanding jobs as long as your arm and unopened or unreturned emails that are are creeping into the days and weeks overdue, it’s time to stop for a moment. If this situation is the same as it was before Christmas, or the same as it was 12 months ago (pre COVID), maybe it’s time to wander into the bathroom and look into the mirror. The solution may be closer than you think.

When you punish your vehicles and equipment, invariably they let you down. Same applies for yourself and your health.