Drafting Leadership

Posted by: on December 19, 2011

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In car racing, they call it drafting. It’s a principle of aerodynamics whereby two cars moving together can actually run faster than either one alone. Wind resistance creates drag, and the faster a car goes the more drag it must overcome. If left to race alone, a single car’s engine will strain harder and harder as it attempts to punch its way through an increasingly dense barrier of air. Anyone who has ever attempted to pursue their goals alone, will empathize with this analogy. The more you do, the harder you work, the quicker you tire and the further away some of those goals seem to get.

Fortunately, the racing world presents us with a solution. You see when joined by another car, the aerodynamics of both the lead vehicle, and any that follow, change for the better. The second car slides into the slipstream, or draft, created by the first. Not only does this second car have to work less to maintain the same speed, but it’s presence actually reshapes the airflow of both vehicles. This benefits the lead car as well. The group now thunders down the track faster, and with less strain then any single car could have done alone.

In life, it is not uncommon for us carry passions, ambitions, ideals or work ethics that motivate us to go above an beyond the typical aspirations of those around us. While our individual energy and enthusiasm is undoubtedly capable of remarkable progress, it is nonetheless bound by natural limits. There is only so much that we can do alone. By encouraging others to join us; by soliciting them to share in our hard work, and yes, by empowering them to enjoy the benefits of our vision and commitment, we can “draft” a much more consequential result.

Even a small constellation will shine brighter than the brightest star. -Author’s Note

Our success as individuals depends upon the support and adjoining success of other individuals. Every leader must find a way of proportioning his or her own success in such a way that it can be shared with others. While competition might help us cross a finish line, only collaboration can help us move mountains. The winner’s circle of life is reserved for those who have not only accomplished their own dreams, but have made true the dreams once held by those around them.

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