Impactless Driving

I pay attention to drivers and driving; especially the ways people drive. It may seem like a small thing, but it represents something more significant in terms of leadership and the ways we live and interact every day. I’ve developed a concept that I call impactless driving, which represents a great way to live and lead. This approach is designed to have no impact on others in order to enhance the overall achievement of everyone. In other words, less impact on others equals more overall impact for everyone

Let me first share with you some examples of impactless driving that are part of my approach to driving. A great example is lane changes. Not only does it involve signaling ahead of time, but it requires that you change lanes without impacting other drivers ahead of you, behind you, beside you and, most important, in the lane you’re moving into. This means that you adjust your speed up or down, and move into the new lane, in a way that the driver in that lane doesn’t have to make any adjustments. No braking, no slowing, etc. In short, impactless.

Another example relates to driving in the appropriate lane based upon speed, intersections, etc. The obvious one is doing what we were all taught in driver’s education, which is to drive on the right and pass on the left. We seem to have forgotten that the lefts lanes are for passing and faster moving traffic. Not everyone travels (or wants to travel) at the same speed, and impactless drivers are aware of this and adjust accordingly. Even if you’re driving the posted speed limit, impactless drivers stay to the right.

Another example is changing into the far right lane so you can get a jump on the light, but in the process you move in front of someone who was planning to turn right. Thus, you did what was best for you, but it impacted someone behind you (and your gain was very small and with a cost to someone else). 

The same mindset applies when you block driveways without paying attention to people who want to enter the traffic. You didn’t do anything wrong, but you impacted someone else’s journey with no real gain for yourself. 

Another way to look at impactless driving is as a form of collaboration between and amongst drivers. What drivers all have in common is a desire to achieve a certain objective – to get to a certain destination (safely) and sometimes with a sense of time urgency. What’s crystal clear to me is that the best way for everyone to achieve their driving objectives is to practice mindful impactless driving.

What does it take to be an impactless drivers? Just three things:

  1. Being and driving present – This not only allows you to be an impactless driver, but it provides the amazing benefit of making you a safer driver. It also virtually eliminates stress.
  2. Caring about others and their objectives – This creates the collaboration that I described above and allows everyone to more consistently achieve their driving objectives.
  3. Letting go of your “it’s all about me” approach – The collaboration and outcomes described above can’t happen when it’s all about you.

Pretty simple, but perhaps challenging to implement given our old habits and ways of driving. The key is to make the commitment to the enhanced outcomes and desired impacts that impactless driving will deliver. In other words, the fewer unintended impacts on others will enhance the intended impacts for yourself and everyone else.

What does this have to do with leadership? Everything because this is the essence of leadership! 

If you’re not leading and living as an “impactless driver,” then you’re likely not leading and you’re certainly not achieving the level of impact and outcomes you desire. Are you ready to be an impactless driver? More important, are you ready to be an impactless leader and therefore a more empowered and impactful leader?

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