The Honda Motorcycle

Management and Leadership are two issues that have been running through my mind a lot.

In the past, there’s been a lot of discussion about how these two are alike, may differ, and how to correlate their interactions within the context of an organization.

The other day, while driving to work, this speedy large-engined Honda motorcycle zoomed past my slow 125cc scooter without any trouble. I thought to myself, there are two ways, I could look at getting to where I’m going.

1) use the scooter I have better. I could fine-tune the engine, learn the principles of acceleration and speedy driving techniques and eventually master my Kymco companion so as to maintain stride with the others on the rode. This would be pretty cost-effective in that add-ons and learning probably wouldn’t cost too much, but would certainly give me better performance. Tweaks are often about noticing nuance.

2) get a bigger scooter. If I bit the bullet and bought one of those 500cc or 1,000cc monsters, I could scream down the road, too. Of course, it would cost more, but but the ROI would be insane. Try to pass me now, Mr Honda.

Is it possible that management and leadership are comparable to my scooter situation? Perhaps, managers are the ones who fine-tune and adjust and squeeze everything of value of value out of the scooter (organization) they’re driving. They work well within that system and learn the reigns so as to master everything. They see the nuance.

On the other hand, leaders (and by nature entrepreneurs) may be the ones who simply say, get me a bigger motorcycle! Let me take on everyone else, not necessarily because I’m the best at what I do, but because I have invested in a bigger, game-changing piece of equipment, and I’m looking past this next stop light and to the 5,000km road ahead of us.

Leaders have a long-term vision and want to see growth. Managers are great at handling details and maximizing what’s currently happening. Which one are you?



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