To finish first, you must first finish. – Juan Manuel Fangio

As we all ramp up and get ready to tackle 2014 many are thinking about renewing their focus or reviewing priorities. But me, I am thinking about one word – Horsepower. Now it’s not a new car, but the idea of personal or organizational horsepower. Think about it. Just like a car our available “horsepower” is critical to getting things done. At its core it is based on our abilities and capacities. So here is how I see it when applied to individuals and organizations.

Personal Horsepower – as individuals we only have so much horsepower. How will we choose to use it? Will we strip away all the extras so we can get from point A to point B as quickly as possible? A narrow focus? Or will we strap lots of things on which means we have lots of features, but don’t move quite as fast and sacrifice some base mileage? Just as a car is capable of delivering a certain amount of horsepower, so are we. We can improve to some extent, but we have limitations. We must make choices. Take on another project? Agree to serve on another committee? Set a new goal? Resign from a responsibility? Each of these decisions has an impact on our horsepower. They will either tax or free up our resources. Our outcomes will all depend on our available horsepower.

Organizational Horsepower – just as people have limitations to their abilities and capabilities, so do organizations. For organizations it’s how all the pieces fit together. Sometimes the pieces work together to produce more horsepower and other times they work against each other. We can’t simply take the individual horsepower of each team member and add them up. They need to be working together. Pulling in the same direction. So, for organizations we need to be asking the same questions. Add a new project? Choose to not do something? Each has and impact on horsepower and our ability to get things done.

Obviously the analogy can be extended a bit more. Do we have enough fuel? What’s the terrain like? You get the idea. But the point is in 2014 I will be thinking about horsepower. Am I using my personal horsepower properly? Am I putting my teammates in a position to use theirs properly? Deployed properly it will means more blog posts in 2014 and a great year of more Progress, but not necessarily Perfection.

All the best!

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