The Magic Bus

Everybody runs some task, system, or project in the course of their work.  Pretty easy to conclude work is all about managing those things – but in almost EVERY instance it is really about MANAGING PEOPLE.  Let me share something for you to think about in this regard.  Being a big fan of The Who – I call this story The Magic Bus

Running anything in Corporate America is like driving a school bus – but not just any school bus – it is a ‘special’ Corporate school bus:

  • Like any school bus, it has one steering wheel & one gas pedal – both located at the one driver’s seat (where you sit).
  • Unlike any other school bus – it has a brake pedal installed at every seat in the bus.

So when you first start driving this bus – the bus lurches to a stop frequently and makes very frustrating progress because everyone in the back is trying out their brake pedal.

You quickly realize that in order for the bus to get anywhere you must develop the skill to understand what is important to them and then influence each of the passengers in the back to lay off their brake.

  • For Johnny, you just have to explain the need for the bus to move ahead and how he can help.
  • You need to give Mary something for her not to hit her brake pedal.
  • Suzy wants a checklist to fill out to take his mind off the brake pedal
  • Ralph you have to raise your voice with.
  • You need to send an email to George’s parents to get them to make him behave.
  • And Freddie?  He is incorrigible – you have to kick him off the bus.

Net… everybody has a different price of acceptance to help move the bus forward.

When you are really good at driving a Corporate school bus – you will frequently glance in the rearview mirror, understand which of the little darlings is about to hit their brake pedal and why, and quickly take the pre-emptive action needed to get that individual not to mess with their brake pedal.

Have a productive and safe trip on the Magic Bus!


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Retired Engineering & Manufacturing Executive with global experience in consumer packaged goods (food & non-food).

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