This past week, our family had the opportunity to travel to Los Angeles, CA.  My wife had a counseling conference to attend, and my daughter and I made it a vacation.  Now, if you have never driven in LA, then you do not know what you are missing.  The rumors are true.  It is slam packed, turtle moving, and prayers needed. We had to make a lot of Ninja and Jedi moves to get to the correct turns sometimes.

We rented a car and used the GPS on our phones for directions.  As I reflect, I found a lot of leadership lessons from the trip and the GPS.


Good leaders need a great wingman.

I found myself a few times telling my wife or daughter, “Talk to me Goose.” The classic line in Top Gun with Maverick and Goose.  They both did an excellent job in guiding me where we needed to go.  Leadership is like that.  There has to be trust and communication. You have to have someone on your side, by your side who is going to help you because it benefits the whole group, not just themselves.

Good leaders plan for the long road.

We were going to Anaheim one evening, a distance of only 26 miles.  1 hour and 39 minutes later, we arrived.  No one in LA says, “I’m just going to run over there real quick.” Leadership takes a look at what is ahead and determines the path to take.  It may be long, slow, stressful… but at least you are doing something.  Too many times, it is too easy to say no, let’s not do that.  It will take too long.

Good leaders sometimes make wrong turns.

Every day, I made at least one wrong turn.  LA is full of forks in the road and merger here and merge there lanes.  The great thing about missing a turn, the GPS will always recalculate.  That is what happens in leadership.  Sometimes leaders make a wrong turn, a bad decision, an oops and an opportunity to recalculate.  Let’s try that again.  Many times, on our wrong turns or missed exits, we were able to see something that was not planned.  A lot of great leadership decisions have been made in the same manner.

Our GPS made our trip all the more doable.  I would not want to drive in LA blind.  At the same time, I do not want to be leading blindly.  I am not a fan of the “let’s fly by the seat of our pants leadership.”  Too many bad things can happen.

Leaders need a good wingman, a plan for the long road, and an opportunity to recalculate.  If you do not, then you are leading alone, probably shortsighted, and think you never make mistakes.  If this is you, then stay out of everyone else’s lanes that know where they are going.


©2018 J Clay Norton

Follow me on Twitter at TheBookChamber

Subscribe via email to my blog at the top of the page