Adopt a pace car to stay on track

by | Nov 27, 2012 | Blog | 0 comments

Tis the season of joy, good will and fantasy.

With its Christmas Book, Neiman Marcus is my perennial source for fun examples of conspicuous consumption.

This year, I’m drooling over the 2013 McLaren 12C Spider.

It’s more than another convertible.

In fact, I’m pining for the Spider as a pace car to help my clients and me follow through with all of our commitments.

Traditionally, pace cars are used in car races. The pace car, which is usually provided by a local car dealer, sets the pace for the start of the race, including the speed limit. The pace car also leads the other cars down to the pit road, according to expert glossary.

It’s time to be innovative and try pace cars in new applications.   

Why a pace car?

The road to good intentions is paved with hell. It’s very hard to stay on track, especially when you’re involved in big events.  

Some of us need help steering or maintaining a steady stride both before and after major proceedings, such as conferences, surveys or extended periods out of the office.

We expend extensive energy planning and conducting these big events—getting people to show up, enjoy the experience, take the survey or whatever.

But then we veer off course.

For example, we may have neglected to plan for the follow up…

Or we may have underestimated the effort needed to follow through on the back end…

Or we may have made other commitments and don’t have the time, resources or let’s face it, the interest, to devote to the necessary next steps.

The follow-up can be just as energy intensive and critical as the event itself.

The action plans have many moving, integrated steps. Moving forward with new priorities….Putting pet projects on hold that don’t advance the new strategy. Jump-starting new teams to review, recalibrate and then implement special projects. Involving interested employees in post-survey planning. The lists go on and on….

That’s challenging enough. Then we realize we’re traveling on the long, windy road from “say” to “do,” which makes the journey more demanding.

The multiple stakeholders who are involved are watching our every move to see whether we’re serious about what we said we were committing to.

When we don’t act in a timely manner or if we act in an uncoordinated way, we’re a car crash waiting to happen.

How can a pace car help?

  • Serve as a sounding board to help make sure you’re planning holistically and for the long-haul, not just up to the event.
  • Sound an alarm when you get off course or start to skip over an important step.
  • Provide specialized expertise when it senses you need it.

By the way, I certainly could have used the latter for my recent mid-November vacation. This was the first time I’ve ever been away this time of year, and while I sensed I would be in the throes of the holidays when I returned, I never expected the extent of it. Even though I had done some planning before I left, it wasn’t enough and I probably won’t catch up until mid-January….

As for my clients, I try to serve as a sounding board and send alarms, but I could benefit from some amplification.  

The 2013 McLaren 12C Spider with its 3.8-liter V8 twin-turbo engine and the 7-speed dual-clutch transmission that goes 0-60 in 3.2 seconds to a maximum speed of 204 miles per hour may be just the tool I need. It certainly would serve as a nice shiny object for all of us who suffer from SOS (shiny object syndrome).

We can dream, can’t we? Meanwhile, we can use the image of this car to remind us of the necessity to pace ourselves throughout.

How well you do set your pace?


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