#Leadership and Thoroughbred Racing

The Triple Crown is considered by many to be horse racing’s most elusive and distinguished prize.  To win the Triple Crown, a race horse must win the Kentucky Derby, The Preakness Stakes, and The Belmont Stakes all in the same year. The three races normally occur within 6 weeks during the months of May and June, so it is quite a test for these horses. Only 11 horses have ever won the Triple Crown.  The feat was last accomplished 36 years ago when Affirmed won all three races in 1978.  Last week, California Chrome won the Kentucky Derby, the first race in the Triple Crown series.  If California Chrome wins The Preakness this weekend, the excitement will really build for The Belmont Stakes as the race will feature a potential Triple Crown winner.

2014 Kentucky Derby

2014 Kentucky Derby

When training race horses, it’s a common practice to place blinders on the sides of their eyes.  The blinders help to keep the horses focused straight ahead and prevent them from being distracted by things occurring in their peripheral vision.  For a thoroughbred horse like California Chrome, cheering crowds present a significant opportunity for distraction, so training with blinders and creating this singular focus on the finish line is very important.

I know many of you are now saying, “This sounds great; can I please put blinders on some of my team members?” Well that might be difficult.  But you do have tools at your disposal that can help to keep your team members focused. Your “blinders” are management tools such as mission and vision statements, values and principles, goals, strategic plans, and performance management plans.  These tools assist you in keeping your team focused on the organization’s goals and priorities.

Winning the Triple Crown is a rare and difficult accomplishment.  Building a “Triple Crown” winning team is also a significant challenge.  As leaders, we need to minimize distractions and constantly reinforce organizational priorities.  And if you use the tools that are available to help keep your team focused on the finish line, you will win your share of races.

Good luck to California Chrome this weekend.  The Belmont could be very exciting if the Triple Crown is California Chrome’s to win!

Thanks for reading,

Ways to follow Dr. Jim Earle:
Twitter – @jvearle
Blog – http://www.jvearle.wordpress.com
Facebook – JVEarleConsulting
Book – 100 Yards of Success: Leadership Lessons from College Football, http://www.tatepublishing.com/bookstore/book.php?w=978-1-62510-731-2



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