Jim Collins’s popular book Good to Great makes it clear: You have to have the right people on the bus and they’ve got to be in the correct seat if you’re going to be successful.  But…


History is littered with companies who were driven into the ditch by drivers who demanded that things be done their way. Companies hit unnecessary road blocks because the boss only reads “one way” road signs.

In addition, as discussed in our book Stomp the Elephant in the Office (Wister & Willows, 2008), many people try to drive forward while looking backward in the rearview mirror. That’s impossible.

Different circumstances require different leadership styles. Too many people in the “driver’s seat”, however, often rely on one leadership approach that can be summed up by the popular t-shirt: “Get in. Sit down. Shut up. And hang on.”


There’s a better way to steer the bus. Bob, who works for a Cincinnati company, has seen the achievement of organizational goals come at a rapid pace since he and his teammates altered their leadership style. “It’s a paradox,” he said. “To be an effective leader you have to be able to take a back seat when necessary. Leadership is about coordination and facilitation as much as anything else.”

Whether it’s leading projects, conducting meetings, or running a company, we all get to see what the view is like from the drivers seat. What do you do when you are there? Do you drive the bus into the ditch by being a boss? Or do you drive down the road of success by ensuring people on the bus feel good, with their ideas included, and their motivations are tapped?

What is the difference between what “might be” and what “can be”? You decide.

Share This