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The first mode of the Lockstep Genius Leader Model we’ll engage with is Drive. This is the most commonly practiced Mode in a business context – for obvious reasons – leaders need to get things done!

The most obvious value of engaging the Drive Mode is progress and rigour. Progress requires energy and focus – it needs a ‘Driver’. 

What is a Mode? We define a Mode as a presence or a way in which a leader holds themselves (the ‘hat’ they wear) in each specific leadership situation to get the job done in an impactful manner.

Drive Mode is the action part of leading, the focus on short-term results, structure and processes.

Drive is often relegated to the domain of the motivated, organised or ambitious, however, in most organisations, everyone is required to ‘Drive’ tasks forward – both individually, and as a team. As with all the modes, there is no single, accurate way to do this and the challenge is for each leader to find their unique way of getting a task across the line. That said, there’s more to the Drive Mode than meets the eye – without careful application it can become destructive. 

Drive works best when done with clear intentions, boundaries and stipulations. The trick to becoming a great Driver-leader is to maintain the balance between immediacy and calmness; between getting the job done and maintaining key relationships. In some ways, this is the most visible of the four modes and maintaining the balance between flexibility (or agility) and rigour in an organisation is a key leadership skill-set. 

As with all the modes, having too much or too little Drive can lead to many problems, most of which are recognisable in modern workplaces. 

Driving people forward in an out-of-control way will engender out-of-control outcomes. Imagine the chaos if goal-posts were are moved or project timelines are not made available to everyone involved. Similarly, using a dictatorial method of driving is likely to cause resentment and a lack of team cohesion or discretionary effort. 

Over-Driven people and teams often operate from a place of fear – of failure, of reprimand. Fear as a motivator is undoubtedly useful in specific situations for specific periods of time but cannot be considered conducive for positive productivity in the long-term. 

When there is a lack of Drive in an organisation, the following symptoms usually appear: 
  • Sluggish and unmotivated teams due to no common goals, or sense of inspiration from their leaders.
  • Lack of processes and subsequent inefficiency (potentially allowing legal or financial risks).
  • Not reaching deadlines or achieving targets with no accountability or reflection processes in place.
  • The modelling of excellent business standards from leaders is low resulting in a sloppy and disengaged workforce.

Since individuals take their lead from their most visible leader, it is up to you to decide on your specific expression of your Drive Mode. Often collaborative projects with visible timelines and a team that takes full ownership of the project outcomes may take longer or feel like they require more energy, but engaging with all the stakeholders with a visible sense of groundedness and surefootedness (even if the situation is complex and the outcome uncertain) is likely to be the most beneficial form of Drive in the long term. 

Some questions to consider: 
  • Is your leadership team over-reliant on Drive as a leadership style? 
  • Is the Drive part of your leadership healthy? 
  • Do your processes work for you, rather than you for them? 
  • What signs are there in your organisation that suggests there is enough Drive in your business? 
  • Drive is the action part of leading, the focus on short-term results, structure and processes.
  • The trick to becoming a great Driver-leader is to maintain the balance between immediacy and calmness.
  • Since individuals take their lead from their most visible leader, it is up to you to decide on your specific expression of your Drive Mode.

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