The Importance Of Drifting Properly

You won’t often hear a teacher on leadership tell you that you need to drift. Instead, you’ll often hear the warnings of drifting.

Drifting may lead you into the middle of the sea, like what happened to Michael Hyatt and his wife Gail. Or drifting may prevent you from going down the road to success like a winter snow drift can do in Michigan.

Those drifts are dangerous. They prevent you from moving forward. They make you stuck.

But there’s another drift. And it’s important you learn how to use this drift properly.

Are you drifting the right way?

Image by WillVision

Have you had a chance to watch The Fast And The Furious: Tokyo Drift? Tokyo Drift is all about this type of drift.

Driftworks describes car drifting as a driving style in which the driver uses throttle, brakes, clutch, gear shifting and steering input to keep the car in a condition of oversteer while maneuvering from turn to turn. Drifters emphasize car control by coordinating the amount of counter steer (or opposite lock) with the simultaneous modulation of the throttle and brakes to shift the weight balance of the car back and forth through the turns. Furthermore, they strive to achieve this while adhering to the standard racing lines and maintaining extreme slip angles.

It’s an impressive maneuver to see pulled off.

The car comes screaming into a car, the driver shifts and slams on the brakes (sometimes throwing down the E-Brake), swinging the car around the corner in a cloud of smoking tires and stunning visuals.

Drifting is easy to do. But mastering it is hard.

The same can be said for drifting in leadership. It’s easy to drift into the unknown but it’s hard to master having the drift bring you to your desired outcome.

Be A Master Of The Leadership Drift

If you want to become a master of the leadership drift, you’re going to have to practice a few different techniques. They may not seem related at first. But, working together, they’ll form a great drift you can be proud of.

To begin your leadership drift, put the metal to the floor. Accelerate towards your goal quickly: At some point you’ll have a project you’re screaming towards. You’ll put a ton of resources and energy into completing the task. That’s good. Real good, especially for drifting.

The faster you’re going, the better. Speed is good as you’re entering into a drift.

Next, kick it down a notch: The next step in drifting is to shift into a lower gear. The lower gear provides more torque and greater energy to kick you around the curve.

In leadership, this means take a step back. You may even want to take a rest. Just kick it down a notch and give it a minute.

Finally, punch the gas again: The last step is to turn the wheel and hit the gas as hard as you can. This will provide maximum power to your wheels and swing the back end of your car around the track.

As a leader, you can come out strong after taking the brief rest you deserve. When you come out of the rest period, hit it with all you’ve got.

You’ll begin to turn and slide in the direction you desire. It’s a great feeling and you’ll look good doing it.

You can use the power of the drift to lead well. Don’t let others tell you otherwise.

By powering up, changing gears, and then powering through again, you’ll have a technique that will benefit your leadership. And maybe even make you look cool.

Question: Have you found a drift that works for you in your leadership? If so, what is it? If not, do you think drifting works in leadership? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Great analogy Joe – well done!

  • Great post Joe. I have never thought about leaderships in the context of drifting but I will give this a try. Thanks for sharing!

    • Steve,let me know how it works for you if you do give it a try. Would love to hear your results!

  • Love how you used the drifting analogy here from a leadership perspective again!

    • Thanks Paul! I think this method could be used to great effect if more users tried it.

  • Interesting Joe, I have never heard of this concept of drift being used in leadership. I will have to give it some thought. – Kudos though for coming up with something very original.

    • Awesome Jon. I’m glad to hear you’ll be considering using this method. Let me know how it works.

      • Let us know if you have a specific story of how you used it.

        • I will Jon. Another commenter, @pioneeroutfitters:disqus, shared her story a bit about how she drifts.

  • First time hearing about drifting in leadership Joe. Interesting.

    • I try to make things interesting around here! Looking at the comments, it seems others really like this idea and some have even practiced it in their leadership/life.

  • Nice, Joe.
    I’m a former Toyota Supra owner who knows a little bit about drifting, so I loved seeing you take this analogy on – I think where I make the connection is that a professional drifting well looks easy, just like a great leader can make leadership appear simple – but the truth is, that it is learned though practice, experience, failure (look at professional drift cars – scraped & beat up!), and while there is a technical side, intuition and “feel” play a huge role.
    Just like drifters, leaders also have their own style…

    • Nice Jon. Those Supras are pretty sweet cars. That’s a great addition to the drifting analogy. It can look easy and others can try to imitate it. Yet to do it well takes a lot of practice and patience. Thanks for sharing your take and experience!

  • Pioneer Outfitters

    This makes perfect sense, Joe. “Drift” is not a positive word…. I would not go as so far to say it is a negative, exactly, but you are right in saying we would never naturally or automatically use “Drift” in conjunction with Leadership…

    But that is what we do- I do… there are times, especially if my brain is leaking out of my ears and I simply can NOT have any more input… Drift… just chill (For me, that is going for a ride- a long one…like a week to ten days) and just absorb, let everything settle. Write when I can, make notes, lists and just ride. There is absolutely nothing I can do about any of the pressures when I am in the field. Nothing. Even if I wanted to- nothing. So, that is my drift.

    Another is when I pull back and away- when I just can’t be everywhere and everything- too many questions and know-how-lacking, I pull back to what I know. Settle, work, shhh- quietly, drifting… not really out of it (life, the game, leadership, whatever) and see what comes.

    AHA! The project isn’t going well- Joe, I mentioned that, before. But I don’t quit, I don’t whine (ok, maybe a little sometimes…) Drifting… so maybe I was doing just that this last week and a half- but do you know what?! Some HUGE stuff is lining up and I am pulling back to push forward. Waiting- sort of, preparing.

    Thanks for an awesome post! I have the posts I have missed this last week waiting to be opened and read in my emails so I’m back and ready to rock-n-learn!

    • Wow Amber-Lee! That’s a great story you’ve shared. And it lines up perfectly with the drifting I shared about this morning. It seems like you’re going full throttle and then you hit the brakes (going for a week long ride) and then you hit it hard when you come back. Am I getting that right?

      • Well, I was “idling”… worried, mind you because no matter how deep I seemed to dig, no matter how focused I was- it wasn’t making ANY difference. (a potato salad fundraiser raised over 40K in no time… and here we sit) But during this drifting time- my “idle”- new angles have come into my path and I am certainly ready to punch it. LOL!

    • Thanks for sharing the detail Amber-Lee of how you “drift” – Helps me see a clearer picture of the concept (yep- I am a little slow at times)

      • Not slow at all, I am certain of that Jon. I too, find it is so much easier for me to grasp a new thought process (maybe not the point- but the actual path to the point) with an example. LOL… this is one of those places I really like *talking* about what is actually happening- not just give random blanket statements… Joe’s house is a good and safe place and I always leave here knowing more than when I arrived.

  • I think a key to drifting well is to “draft” behind a few leaders whom you respect. Learn they principles they use to drift and then apply those principles to your life.

    • I like the drafting idea Kent. I know in so me endurance sports competing athletes will take turns drafting behind one another. We should always be learning from others.

      • Absolutely! I always run a better race when I find a faster runner to draft behind.

    • Thanks for the addition Kent. That’s a fantastic analogy. Drafting is critical to driving skillfully as well, more so than drifting. You may have sparked a new blog post!

  • Drifting in this manner I think of strategically planning or Leading. I think we can drift if we are strategically Leading.