It is a bit of a stretch to imagine a company morphing into a Clydesdale. Although the beautiful horses are incredibly famous, they aren’t exactly the poster child for small business growth.
Here’s why patterning your business after a Clydesdale will make all the difference regardless!
Note: This article is a truncated version of my keynote from Grow2022. If you’re interested in hearing the whole thing (And the music composed exclusively for the Grow Retreat), check it out here!
Consider the following question: If you wanted to get a Clydesdale to pull nearly seven times their body weight, how would you go about the task?
Frankly! Clydesdales are impressive. They were built & bred for pulling and while their average body weight hovers around 1700lbs, they will pull (on average) 5000lbs.
That alone is quite a feat. What’s more intriguing however is that, when paired with a partner, a team will pull 12000lbs - 20% more than an individual.
Same resources but 20% more performance.
Interestingly though, a team that is well-matched, has worked together consistently and has a driver that they trust and are comfortable with will pull up to 18000lbs. The world record for a duo team of draft horses was set in the early 1900s at 22,000 lbs - nearly seven times their average body weight.
So how did they get there? Using the same concept that we taught at the Grow Retreat this year: Connection. When a set of Clydesdales are paired correctly, and trust each other and their driver, their connection becomes so strong that they are able to do what others only dream of.
How This Relates to Business
You have the power to create that kind of connection in your business. That kind of connection creates exponential growth without exponentially increasing resources!
Focusing on creating space, and connecting yourself and your team with your vision, creates phenomenal impact and growth.
A Music Analogy
I can play a piece just for the sake of playing a piece of music. And it might even sound pretty good to my audience. In fact, after dedicating an hour a day of practice on the violin for the past 2.5 years, it probably will!
But if I want that piece of music to move my audience emotionally, to connect with them and inspire them, there are two pieces I must know intimately:
- The Tempo
- The Vision
Although I’d love to pretend I don’t have to admit this, the tempo is incredibly important to the piece I’m about to play because tempo is what holds the whole piece together. It’s the speed at which a piece is played, but there is more to tempo than just speed. It’s understanding the tempo, how it breathes and moves, and respecting that, but also communicating it clearly to my audience!
As a musician with a hate-hate relationship with the metronome (the little clicking thing that is supposed to help keep us on-time), I had to get creative to learn how to internalize the tempo appropriately and it required that I take time to fully understand what the tempo is.
The more time I spent with the tempo to connect with it in preparation to take the stage at the Grow Retreat, I realized that it’s not just about the beat driving the time forward, but tempo is actually more about the space between the beat. It’s ensuring the space between the beat is consistent, and given room to breathe.
That’s crucial, not just for ourselves, but also for our teams. It’s so easy to get caught up in driving the beat of the business forward that we forget to take time and space between drives to rest and breathe!
When we know what the tempo is, we can adjust it as necessary to draw out the beauty in a piece, and the performance in our businesses!
Bringing It To Business: Tempo Edition
As business owners, we tend toward what musicians do. We drive into the beat until the tempo changes completely. We and our teams end up completely driven mad and frantic, and we lose our grasp of creating a beautifully executed business. It’s the same in music. When a musician speeds up a piece, eventually they discover that they can’t perform at the speed they’ve worked themselves into.
In business as well as music, it’s important to keep focus and remember to breathe and take space between the beats. Between the moments where you’re driving like crazy, take a moment to breathe and refocus.
The only way that a musician successfully transports their audience into the music they’re performing is if the musician knows what they want to communicate with the audience and makes choices that communicate that!
Which is challenging, considering most instruments don’t actually speak with words!
But when musicians know what vision they want to give the audience and put effort into communicating that, they transport the audience beyond just hearing the song and truly connect the audience with the vision of the music. Similar to how the right driver paired with the right horses gives them the right vision to pull incredible amounts of weight, musicians connect people with music to create incredible feelings and emotions.
Bringing It To Business: Vision Edition
There’s something truly special that happens when a business owner connects their team to the vision.
Recently I spoke with a business owner who was struggling with her team. She felt like she was herding cats, and no one was actively working toward the business goals with her. As the conversation went on, I asked her when the last time she’d communicated her vision to her team was. What she realized was that she wasn’t sure she’d actually done that, and the results after she made certain to connect her team to the vision? Astonishing! She came back to me and was raving about how her team was coming up with their own ideas to improve the company and reach the goal. She finally felt like they were all working together, and they began to see exponential growth.
When you connect your team with your vision and truly ensure you’ve communicated it to them, you’ll begin to see how it’s possible for 2 Clydesdales to pull over 20,000 lbs of weight!
Ultimately, it comes down to connection.
When you connect your business, your team, and yourself to the right things, you’ll discover a world of growth you never thought possible!
About the Author:
Stephanie Scheller is a TED speaker, a two-time best-selling author and the founder of Grow Disrupt. In just under a decade, Stephanie has been behind the scenes with more than 5,000 small businesses. She has worked in groups and one-on-one to create total business transformation & help business owners live the life they got into business to create!