Periodically I’ll fire off a tweet that generates a few (or more than a few) replies or direct messages asking “What was that about?”. I don’t intend to be cryptic, but some ideas are bigger than 140 characters, and once distilled down to a tween, end up sounding more like a top secret missive. Sorry about that. Not dramatically sorry, but a little.
Here’s what I was thinking at the moment I pressed send:
The very beginning of a drag race – the place when the engines wind up, the light goes “yellow, yellow, yellow, yellow, GREEN!” and the car shoots off the starting line – is called the launch. While a drag racer is fighting for advantage down all 1,320 feet of the track, he knows that the race is almost always won or lost at the launch. With few exceptions, the car that is ahead at the 150 foot mark is still ahead at the finish line.
Acceleration happens when the motor generates revolutions (measured in RPM, revolutions per minute) that are in turn transfered to the rear wheels, causing forward momentum. Straight mathematical logic would say that any wheel spin is bad, because those revolutions spent spinning might move you further down the track. In other words, all wheel spin should be avoided….except that it’s really not all bad.
Granted, it’s possible to light the tires up in a cloud of impressive smoke and go nowhere, but it’s also possible to demand complete traction, giving such a controlled launch that every revolution of the tire is responsible for moving the car a distance equal to the circumference of the tire – perfect efficiency.
The truly fast launch is one of limited wheel spin – allowing the tires to spin a little bit, allowing the engine to rev faster, so that 75 feet off the line when the tires do hook up with perfect efficiency, the engine is running faster and the car is going faster than it would if it were forced to engage perfect traction all the way down the track.
I see efficiency as killing a lot of good ideas. If you’re starting an initiative – at church, at work, in your own family – there’s got to be permission for a little bit of wheel spin. I’m thinking of the freedom to explore ideas that ultimately don’t work but got the creative juices flowing. To demand traction from every idea is to suck the life and energy out of your new idea. The nature of them being ideas is you don’t know what will work. Building a culture that allows for trying and failing will lead to eventually falling into the perfect idea 75 feet from the launch line that allows you to power all the way down to the win.
- A church of 10,000 might not be able to construct an outreach around the over active imagination of a member because spreadsheets and the necessary constraints prohibit it…but a church planter can try it.
- A multi million dollar business might not take the chance on a new shipping method, but an entrepreneur can try it because he’s only shipping a few.
There’s a significant advantage of having less to lose. You can try stuff.
Your new idea might turn out to be wheel spin – but even so, in that failed opportunity, something is learned, and further down the track you’re running harder than you were before.
Rev it up, dump the clutch and hang on.
Perfect efficiency is for large organizations and Prius drivers.
Filed under: Uncategorized |