The World Champion British Grand Prix driver, Graham Hill, noted over 50 years ago that driving a bit more slowly often results in faster lap times. He observed that slowing down leads to smoothness. Smooth is faster and faster wins.
Graham might have noted that driving more smoothly is also easier on the driver, leading to a longer career. It is probably easier on the car, crew, tires, and pocketbook of the sponsor too. Furthermore, Graham was probably able to grasp more opportunities by not always being on the bitter edge. Sadly, in 1975 Graham Hill was killed in a plane crash.
The point of this story applies to business; smoother operations can lead to more success. Operating more smoothly promotes efficiency, with information going from mind to mind and task to task with more ease, and perhaps faster.
Today, most of us command a computer which can effortlessly perform billions of operations per second. The trick is to put all of this power to work smoothly, without spinning out.
Being in Flow
There is an idea that being happy and productive emanates from a state of “flow”, put forward in the book “Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience” by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. Perhaps flow is encouraged by easing pressure on the gas peddle … by not trying so hard.
One way we eased off the gas peddle, rejuvenated team spirit, and added to perspective at Automation Consultants, was the 12 years we spend flying our banner in the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta.
Of course one can overdo ease and smoothness; the world is full of underdoers. We keep pictures on our walls as reminders.
Paradoxically, Graham Hill drove for BRM (British Racing Motors), often cited for overdoing their elegant designs and engineering, and for inconsistency.