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What Rally Racing Taught Me About Business: Part III – Trust Your Co-Driver


No rally racer drives alone. There’s always a “co-driver” who rides shotgun in every rally car. And in an actual race this co-pilot, is talking literally constantly. Every step of the way, they give audible cues and provide instructions about the terrain, the degree of every single turn, alerting the driver to any unusual danger, and keep track of the distance of each turn and each straightaway.

When I recently had my first experience with rally racing, I learned quickly how vital it was to my success to have a good co-driver and be able to blindly rely on them. Without the co-driver, rally racing drivers could crash five times over, and certainly wouldn’t cross finish line ahead of the competition.

Interestingly, it’s the same with business. We all have co-drivers, whether in our personal life or in business. Whether they’re investors or business partners or staff, no entrepreneur does it all alone, and we shouldn’t. To succeed in business, we need partners we can trust.

The Key Is Communication

In rally racing, co-drivers use a specifically coded rally language. It uses the minimal amount of words necessary, but provides total accuracy for the driver to hear, process, and take action while propelling the vehicle forward through all the chaos at up to 140mph.  If the driver misunderstands or the co-driver miscommunicates, things can fall apart and the race is over.

Some might argue the co-driver is actually the more important person in the cockpit. But in reality, the two are completely interdependent. One cannot win a race — or even come close — without the other. Their communication must be fluid, constant, and seamless. The driver must at all times be listening intently, processing, and acting on the information from his co-driver.

In business, it’s important to have strong communication between yourself and your “co-drivers.” It’s just as important for you to listen to them as it is for them to advise you. A lack of communication can lead you to overlook obstacles, misjudge situations or lead you to go too fast or too slow. Unconditional and blind trust is what makes the relationship between driver and co-pilot special. In business, if investors don’t trust you, your business is sure to crash and burn. If your partners have no trust in you or into each other, you’ll never be able to move your business in the direction it needs to go.

Of course, in rally racing, each driver has only one co-driver; in business, you’ll have no shortage of people who have advice for you, who want to be your co-driver. With so many voices in your ear, it’s important to be able to tell which ones need to be tuned out and which ones should be heeded. It all comes down to choosing your co-drivers carefully. Ultimately, we are responsible for our own decisions, but our trusted co-drivers can help us avoid disaster, if only we communicate.

Did you experience similar situations with your co-drivers? How has a co-driver helped you and your business?


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