I learned to drive with a manual transmission.

A 1967 red Volkswagen Bug. Stick shift.

It was awesome.

Today, one of our cars is a manual transmission, red VW Rabbit, which we purchased from our son-in-law and daughter after they started having a family and needed a larger car.

I love this car. It’s small and nimble, plus the feeling of shifting gears to accelerate is just so enjoyable for me.

For anyone who’s ever driven a stick shift, you know that there is some art and science to it. Every car has a slightly different “sweet spot” where the engagement begins. The timing can become so “perfect” when accelerating. Maneuvering the curves in the road is more fun because you need more “talent” to properly drive and control the vehicle.

I was having a conversation with a client last week that got me thinking about driving my little red Rabbit….

Entrepreneurs, business owners, and executives are expert at “shifting gears.”

There probably isn’t a day where business leaders need to move from one decision to another rapidly; almost like turning on a dime or catching the curve with the manual just right.

In those daily mind shifts, there is an art and science to being able to fully engage with a new idea, while still being cognizant of what was being done, and what is coming in the near future. This is different than multi-tasking; this is the ability to multi-think and shift to slow down or accelerate based on the situation.

Just like my Rabbit, business leaders must be nimble to deal with varying “sweet spots” of engagement and focus; must be expert in timing and communication; and must be willing to allow the talent within themselves to take control on key judgments.

Finally, there may also come moments when the savvy business leader hands over the keys to others to help drive the company forward for growth and profitability.

These skills aren’t inherent. Just like I stalled that ’67 Bug countless times in attempts to learn how to move forward smoothly (often inordinately trying my dad’s patience in the passenger seat), entrepreneurs and executives need to use their experiences, failures, and victories to create that “perfect” driving experience and operator for their business.

Quote of the Week:

“If everything seems under control, you’re just not driving fast enough.”

~ Mario Andretti

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