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Edition 298 – Mach 1

Cars have always been a hobby of mine. One of my first memories is standing on the bench seat of my father’s grey Chrysler Valiant R Series as it headed towards Dee Why Beach. My guess is that I was around three at the time and back then, I’d ask him what the other cars on the road were. An encyclopaedic knowledge of the automotive world was forming even before I could speak properly and, by and large, continues to this day.

A couple of weeks back, I picked up my new car – a 2021 Ford Mustang Mach 1. I’d pontificated for months about whether or not to buy one to the point where I’d left my run very late. Part of the pontification was down to where to park it. There was no car being sold as this was always going to be a “plus one” for the garage. It seems the three year old who had a bedroom full of Matchbox cars was turning into a 53 year old with not enough garage space. Alas, with some creative thinking, the problem was solved and a white coupe with the boy racer stripes made its way into our driveway.

I’ve driven Mustangs in the past – a couple as hire cars in Melbourne and one as a weekend jaunt as part of my connections with Tickford Racing. So, in some ways, I knew what to expect. Or did I?

After taking delivery at the dealership, with our youngest son Fraser playing wingman and photographer, we took it for the run back home. It’s much heavier to drive than my 2016 Ford Falcon XR8 Sprint sedan, which is a more nimble car in spite of being larger. Being a sports car, you sit much lower in the Mustang and I’ve quickly figured out that if this is going to work long term, I’m going to need to dump 10kg.

When you fire up the 5.0 litre V8, which is by and large the same engine as in my Falcon, it sounds completely different. It’s almost thuggish in it’s exhaust note and, by virtue of the electronic trickery that is evident on most vehicles these days, I can dial up or down the level of “growl” in the exhaust.

The various controls are all in different spots. After a lifetime of driving almost exclusively Australian made Fords, there’s a bit of adjustment underway to figure out the cruise control, audio and satellite navigation settings.

After a few days, a friend of mine asked me “which do you like better – the XR8 Sprint or the Mach 1” – to which my response was, they’re equally as good as each other, yet vastly different beasts to manoeuvre. Each will need to be driven quite differently to the other. No two cars are the same.

The same applies to the people in your business. No two individuals are the same. Every person has their own beliefs and ambitions. Two people can witness the same event, yet view it differently to the other to the point where they’re at opposite ends of the spectrum.

If that is the case, why do business owners:

  1. Fail to see themselves as mentors.
  2. Fail to embrace the opportunity to guide someone on their life journey.
  3. Not customise training and development to the needs of an individual.
  4. Not see that leadership in business involves understanding what drives each individual.

When I put the boot into either vehicle from a standing start, I can get to the speed limit equally as quickly, yet with a much different experience. One responds better to feathering the throttle, whilst the other pleads with you to press into the firewall. Reversing the methodology would not only yield a different result, it would involve one of the two vehicles ending up a lot more untidy and the other asking if I’ve gone to sleep.

The same applies with our people. Don’t we achieve the best from them if we treat them as individuals that respond to their own set of inputs with a view to what is in their long term interest?

This Week’s Tip

When was the last time you asked your key people what they’re looking to achieve in their life and their career
how you can help them on their journey?