For those who have ever had the privilege of owning a car that was approaching the 200,000 mile mark, they know doing so can come with a series of challenges. From faulty air conditioning, to blinkers that blink when they want to, the list of repairs can seem endless.
One of the most common repairs many auto mechanics recommend at this mile marker is the need for either wheel balancing or wheel alignment. Although commonly mistaken for each other, the effects they can have on a car are very different; effects that have several leadership lesson hidden deep within.
The primary purpose of a wheel alignment is to ‘prevent uneven tire wear in order to keep a vehicle driving in a straight line.’ Whenever cars, despite the driver’s efforts, are consistently pulling to one side, there is a wheel alignment problem.
This problem however lies not with the wheels, but rather with the angle of the camber or caster they are connected to, which needs to be addressed in order for a car to be realigned.
When it comes to the decline of any organization, or perhaps its inability to reach an intended goal, many leaders find it easier to focus their frustration on the wheels they have placed around them, rather than the angle of their camber.
It is far easier to replace a flawed leader than to evaluate and realign how they are connected.
However, when it comes to wheel balancing, the problem often lies with an uneven distribution of mass within the tire, which is often just a result of time and extensive rotation. Once a tire becomes unbalanced, it causes the steering wheel, or perhaps an entire vehicle, to shake uncontrollably.
No matter how gifted a leader can be, there will always be the need for a thorough inspection. Without providing one with the margin for personal repair and inspection, a leader can begin to just rotate from team to team, department to department, causing an entire organization to shake and steer off course.
It’s no wonder why mechanics have such job security. Few are willing to learn how to do their own repairs.