top of page
  • Sam Decker

High-Speed Leadership: Vision Techniques to Stay on Track

Let’s navigate the parallels between high speed driving and leadership…

This is one of a series of articles I’m going to write on the parallels of high performance driving and high performance company leadership. If you like driving, there’s something here for you. If you like leadership, there’s something here. If you like both, it’s a twofer! 

Vision: It’s Where The Car Goes

In performance driving, vision is everything. In my opinion, it’s the #1 technique and habit to learn. 

If you want to master high-speed car control, you’ve got to look where you want the car to go, not just where it is. It’s harder than it sounds. Perhaps because in daily driving we’ve formed some bad habits of looking at the car in front of us. 

The importance of vision is preparing your body to react to what is coming. Because what your eyes see, the body – and controls and input – will follow.

So always be looking ahead, even before you finish a turn. In fact, on a race track, it’s best to look ahead two “moves” from where you are. So, if you have a braking zone and an apex coming up (two moves), you should be looking past that apex. 

Vision on the road (performance diving and daily driving) can be thought of as “eye work”. Accept the explicit job your eyes have to consume information. Keep your eyes moving, scanning the ahead. Use your peripheral vision to stay aware of what’s in front of you. Before you complete that turn, start looking at the exit and the next turn. 

This forward-thinking approach ensures you’re ready for the next move, making your driving smooth and controlled. .Paul Gerard, the “Stig” from the US Top Gear said it to me like this: “you can’t plan your future when you’re worried about the present.” 

The most common mistake? Target fixation. That’s when you get so locked onto an obstacle that you end up steering right into it. Instead, keep your eyes up, looking through the top half of the windshield, so you point your eyes to where you want the car to go.

A Company on Track Is Led with Vision

Shifting gears to company leadership, the parallels are clear. 

Just like a driver must focus on the right path, leaders need to have their eyes, mind and voice focused on the core objectives, S.M.A.R.T. goals, and key problems. It's the non urgent, high importance stuff. Moreover, they need to communicate the vision effectively.

Just as a driver looks ahead of turns, leaders anticipate future challenges and opportunities. A forward-looking approach allows for strategic planning and preparedness, positioning the company to navigate the business landscape effectively.

Business "target fixation" in on competitors or the latest industry trends. Yes, you need to be aware of these factors, but becoming overly fixated can lead you down a reactive rather than strategic path.

It's so easy to get caught up in the day to day, or the turn that you're in. But leaders are the ones needing to focus on the organization’s long-term goals, ensuring the team stays aligned and moves in the right direction. Leaders keep the broad perspective of the business environment for potential disruptions. You don’t lose sight of peripheral factors like team morale and market shifts. This holistic view ensures no critical aspect is overlooked.

And vision in leadership isn’t just about what you see; it’s about ensuring the entire organization shares and understands that vision. Communication is key. Regularly repeating the purpose and vision keeps everyone aligned.  Consistently share and reiterate the organization's vision and goals with the team. This reinforces alignment and keeps everyone focused on the same objectives. Every executive should be able to articulate the company’s top goals and problems-to-solve, and ensure planning reflects these priorities. Consistently sharing and reiterating keeps everyone on track.

Whether you're behind the wheel of a high-performance car or at the helm of a company, vision is critical. By looking ahead and anticipating the next challenge, you’ll steer your organization toward sustained performance and growth. Just like in driving, it’s the ability to look ahead that sets the best apart from the rest.


bottom of page