Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Gearing Up

Part 3 of "The Physics of Biking" or what I'm learning about leadership while training for a 24 hour bike ride...

The development of the chain drive helped make the bicycle that we know today possible. The chain drive eliminated the need to have the cyclist directly above the wheel. Instead the cyclist could be positioned between the two wheels for better balance. With the advent of gears, the cyclist could also pedal more efficiently. Riders enjoyed increased speed and easier riding up steep grades.

A chain drive alone (without gears) is effective on flat surfaces and going downhill. However, when it comes to headwinds, hill climbing, and even starting on a bicycle without gears--the cyclist has to stand on his pedals and strain while pedaling at a very low rate. Gears allow the cyclist to pedal at a comfortable and efficient rate while traveling either uphill or downhill or with a headwind or a tailwind.The gears of a bicycle make pedaling more efficient, allowing the cyclist to travel faster and more easily handle steep grades and other obstacles.

Gears make it possible for riders to maintain the cadence (or rate of pedaling) that makes them the most efficient. While there are many opinions as to what exactly is the optimal cadence for bicycling, everyone seems to agree that cadence is important.

What are your leadership "gears"? What makes your organization go? How do you determine the speed of your movement? When do you have to push a little harder, and when can you coast? Just like yesterday's post on "wheels", only you have the right answer. But here's mine:


Leaders never grow to a point where they no longer need to prioritize. It's something that good leaders do whether they lead a small group, a church, or an organization of 50 or 5,000.

Successful leaders recognize that not all activity is accomplishment. The best leaders seem to be able to prioritize their focus while reducing their number of actions.

John Maxwell, writing in "The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership," talks about three guidelines he uses when making priorities. To be effective, he thinks leaders must order their lives according to three questions:
  1. What is required? Anything required that is not necessary for you to do personally should be delegated or eliminated.
  2. What gives the greatest return? Leaders spend most of their time working in the areas of their greatest strengths.
  3. What gives the greatest reward? Nothing energizes a person the way passion does.
What are you doing with your leadership potential? Are you successfully prioritizing your actions to produce maximum results? Or are you spinning away in the wrong gear?

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