How to Leverage the Flywheel Advantage for High Performance

Successful leaders energize people.

One of the most neglected leadership skills is spinning up flywheels – creating momentum.

The Flywheel advantage:

“Momentum solves 80% of your problems.” John Maxwell

  1. Predictable high performance. Flywheels deliver energy at rates beyond the ability of an energy source.
  2. Confidence. A spinning flywheel anticipates new challenges. Avoid people who avoid challenges.
  3. Positive environments. Stagnant flywheels are dead weight.
  4. Magnetism. High performing teams attract high performing people.

How many people on your team are hard to stop? Keep spinning them up.

How many teams in your organization are chomping at the bit for new challenges?

The neglected flywheel question:

Every leader needs to ask, “How might I add energy to flywheels?” Apply the question to yourself, your direct reports, and your team.

A stick in the spokes:

Never interrupt success.

It’s a disaster to poke a stick in the spokes of a spinning flywheel. Criticism, for example, takes the wind out of people’s wheels. (Feedback isn’t criticism.)

You have one thing to do with high performers and that’s add velocity to their flywheel.

3 ways to add velocity to high performers:

#1. Practice the one-minute drive-by.

You may not have time for a 15-minute conversation, but it only takes a minute to spin-up someone’s wheel.

Stick your head in the door and notice something that’s working. When you’re done, walk away.

#2. Step aside.

Get out of a high performer’s way, but don’t leave them alone. Chances are you spend too much time with squeaky flywheels and not enough with high performers.

If you want you high performers to spin down, neglect them. Stop challenging them.

#3. Know and understand high performers.

Know what spins their wheel.

  1. Does public acknowledgement spin them up?
  2. Does face-time with the boss energize them?
  3. Do they prefer autonomy?
  4. Do deadlines light them up?

Leave people with more energy after you leave than when you arrived.

How have leaders poked a stick in your flywheel?

How might leaders spin up flywheels?

Bonus material:

Jim Collins – Concepts – The Flywheel Effect

Momentum Breakers Vs. Momentum Makers – John Maxwell