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.
The bicycle works best with the front wheel in front and the back wheel in back. Unfortunately, it’s very easy to reverse them. As business leaders, we tend to concentrate all of our energy on the back wheel, the company, peddling constantly and furiously. But when we put the power source first, we’re not really steering anymore—and disaster can ensue.
Sometimes a “bicycle breakdown” comes in the form of sheer burnout, which one in four entrepreneurs will experience at some point. Other times, bad business or personal outcomes result because we didn’t take the time to align our day-to-day choices with our larger vision. We were just nose-down, huffing and puffing.
Take heart, though, having your bicycle wheels reversed is exceedingly common. The key to effective and enduring executive leadership is to recognize when life is falling out of balance in this manner so you can do something about it.
This is when a peer advisory group can be absolutely invaluable. The very structure of a Vistage peer advisory promotes the reflection and analysis required to notice when things are going awry and figure out how to take action.
Vistage works like this—a business owner or CEO commits to taking just one day per month to work on the business, but not in the business. It’s time they set aside for deep strategic thinking and problem-solving, without the constant disruptions that occur in the office and even at home.
Taking such a high-level look, with contributions from others in a similar position, helps lay the foundations to work smarter, not harder and still achieve business goals. You might say it helps you peddle easier but get there faster.
There’s a lot more to a platinum Vistage peer advisory group but finding balance is a central benefit. If you’d like to learn more about how my group can help you discover the easier yet equally (or more!) effective way forward for your company, please get in touch.