The Bicycle Theory of Executive Leadership
I bike. The 50 or more miles I put in on the trail each week are exercise and enjoyment, time in nature and time to reflect—and yes, an opportunity to catch up on all those podcasts I’ve saved.
That’s probably why a bicycle analogy I heard years ago has stuck in my mind. It provides a helpful metaphor I now use with nearly every business owner and executive I coach.
What the Cycling Peloton Says About Executive Leadership
The iconic images of the Tour de France usually depict the peloton, that tightly packed group of cyclists in brightly colored jerseys. Most of us have seen video of these formations and watched as the race leader strategically gives up position to a teammate and falls into line behind.
There is good science behind these racing tactics. By riding in the peloton, a competitor can experience up to 95% less drag than when peddling alone. The greatest advantage accrues to those in the middle of the pack, but even the leader reduces her effort simply by joining the group.
Regaining Balance While Building Your Business
I’ve written elsewhere about the bicycle analogy I often use when coaching executives and facilitating peer advisory groups. I’ve even discussed how it relates to my own life and business experience, and a few regrets.
I can’t claim to have originated the idea but I find that a two-wheel bicycle is a helpful visual metaphor. Here’s how it goes: The front wheel of a bike is connected to the handlebars, so it’s the one by which you steer your life and work. The back wheel is connected to the chain and pedals, so it powers the ride to success.