Banner Img


Chris Harrison

July 10, 2024

I’ve just returned from a delightful holiday in Portugal, during which we used Uber fully. A brand built on the belief that transportation should flow like water. People should be able to step in and out of the flow and reach their destination with the minimum inconvenience. And let me tell you that the brand delivered on so many levels. It was cheap and available 24/7 with a range of personalisation options in terms of vehicle size, interior temperature, and whether you were open to conversation with the driver. Those drivers were polite and cheerful despite the thin commercial rewards (for them, an Uber ride can yield as little as one-third of the price paid by the passenger). The cars were all new, and the drivers clearly enjoyed driving them. A little too much, as it turned out. So we spent anxious moments being propelled along narrow medieval streets at Formula One speed, clutching seatbelts, grab handles, and one another in an attempt to retain our seats.

As we hurtled toward one destination, I was reminded of my father's most useful advice while teaching me how to drive: ‘Always drive with due consideration for your passengers.’

On further reflection, I realised how many of the business leaders I have met over the years are inconsiderate drivers. Most of them are men, of course, and all of them drive large expensive cars. They drive fast and make full use of acceleration and braking. Their focus is outside the vehicle, and their driving style is competitive. They take (calculated) risks to outmaneuver other road users. They make frequent use of the horn, and they often flash their lights to admonish other motorists. In short, the way they drive is often a reflection of their leadership style. They handle their car like they handle their company.

Now, inside the car or the company, the experience can be very different. The passengers or employees are not braced by holding on to the steering wheel. The seat restraints provided may not be enough, on their own, to give them a sense of security. For those in the back, their ability to look ahead is limited. For anyone in the front, their inability to control or influence the experience will be very evident. In short, if you are a passenger in this kind of car - or an employee of this kind of boss - the journey may turn out to be uncomfortable and unpredictable. You are likely to be relieved when you reach your destination. And you are unlikely to relish the prospect of the next trip… or working day.