Picture this: your car is stalled beside the road. Luckily, it’s just a dead battery, but there are no jumper cables around. A good Samaritan has offered to “give you a push” so you can get a “push start” for your car. As you get back into your car to shift it into neutral you remind your new-found friend that, “It’s an automatic, so I need to get up to about 25 miles per hour before I put in back in gear!” The driver of the other car nods knowingly and starts to back up.
A few moments later as you look into your rear view mirror you see the other car coming up behind you, at about 25 miles per hour…
The problem coming at you is the applied difference between force and momentum.
Force is mass times acceleration. Momentum is mass times velocity. The critical variable between force and momentum is time.1 Knowing the amount of force and the length of time that force is applied to an object will tell you the resulting change in its momentum. Translation: too much force over not enough time gives you a car crash instead of a jump start.
Leaders have a clear picture of the future they desire. They also know there is no single defining action, no grand program, no miracle moment that leads to that end. Rather, as Good to Great author Jim Collins says, “The process resembles relentlessly pushing a giant heavy flywheel in one direction, turn upon turn, building momentum until a point of breakthrough, and beyond.” Momentum involves getting the “mass” – that’s everyone – moving in the same direction at the same time.
Which actions help build momentum? Here are three questions to guide you:
- In the context of your strategic intent, does this action make sense?
- How will this action make a difference?
- How will we make progress?
Leaders act. With clarity. Building momentum.
In Other Words…
“Success comes from taking the initiative and following up… persisting… eloquently expressing the depth of your love. What simple action could you take today to produce a new momentum toward success in your life?” – Tony Robbins
“The one great element in continuing the success of an offensive is maintaining the momentum.” – Gen. George Marshall, March 1945
“Concentrated attention is the collection of units of power on a chosen point of intention.” – James Arthur Ray
“A bazooka is the skeleton key of the impatient” – Will Timmins
“Concentrate all your thoughts upon the work at hand. The sun’s rays do not burn until brought to a focus.” – Alexander Graham Bell
In The Word…
“But test everything; hold fast what is good.”- 1 Thessalonians 5:21
1. The physics: Since acceleration is the change in velocity divided by time, you can connect the two concepts with the following relationship: force = mass x (velocity / time) = (mass x velocity) / time = momentum / time. Multiply both sides of this equation by time: force x time = momentum