Leadership Qualities: Setting the Pace.

Whitney Houston-Step by Step (with lyrics)

Forerunners go ahead of their team and set the pace for victory.

Rounding out our tribute to fathers series, I decided to focus on pace setting this week. In the marathon race of life, fathers go ahead of their families setting the pace for victory.  Having established a root system and structure for development, fathers then have to pace themselves and their team to accomplish the victory.

So, imagine a young couple just starting out.  Newly married, the young man is excited to be with his bride.  In short order they become pregnant and face the fears of a new baby while he finishes his studies at university and works as a full-time employee.  Fast forward several years and the family has grown to include 3 strong sons with the oldest inching up to dad’s shoulder, the next reaching up to his elbow, and the youngest running around at his knees.  It was my pleasure to see such a couple out on Father’s Day.  Having grown through the teething pains of newly weds and young parents, I asked this obviously proud father, “How is it?”  He had to sit down to respond.  With a broad smile on his face, he looked me in the eyes and said, “It’s a blessing.”  Mom’s wide smile and peaceful countenance was accompanied with joyous delight after reflecting on the early years.  She followed dad’s posture as she replied. “It’s demanding; some days more than others.  What I can’t handle, I pray about.”

“Set the pace” means “to be the one that is at the front in a race and that controls how fast the other racers have to go — often used figuratively” (https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/set%20the%20pace).  And, what begins at home usually follows into school life, professional life, and family life.  

Photos courtesy of Unsplash.

Research in the area of dating reveals that some 40% of women in the United States are breadwinners in their families.  This changes the dynamics of traditional dating that existed long ago.  However, Dr. Solomon has found overwhelming evidence to support the idea that women still want men to set the pace in their relationship.

Dating: Setting the Pace Without Scaring Someone Away – Esther Perel & Dr. Alexandra Solomon

In the area of new product development, experts McGrath, Shapiro and Anthony (1994) offer valuable insight in the Product and Cycle-time Excellence (PACE) model (https://www.researchgate.net/publication/3347545_Pace_of_change_-_Product_development_success_through_product_and_cycletime_excellence).

Owens, 2009 (https://www.researchgate.net/figure/The-phase-review-process-within-the-product-and-cycle-time-excellence-model-after_fig1_286687519)

The model uses a stage gate analogy, with ‘phase reviews’ determining if the project should continue, be redirected or terminated. Through using PACE, team leaders can “efficiently organize people, resources, and processes to dramatically improve financial results, strategic positions, internal morale, and customer satisfaction” (McGrath, 1996).  This works particularly well in family-owned businesses.

Today, the PACE process continues to be the pacesetter for graduate students in mechanical engineering.  For example, Bing Liu (2003) under the supervision of his professor, developed a 4-step approach to understanding the pace of product development.  The research ultimately highlighted “how various factors such as company size, industry sectors, and professional experience may influence the dynamics of product development process” (https://dspace.mit.edu/bitstream/handle/1721.1/34796/57535687-MIT.pdf?sequence=2).  

So, setting the pace as a leader is critical not only to the current generation, but to future generations of families, workplaces, and societies.  

(Mitchell, 2019).

Are you looking for some inspiration to become a pace setter?  Check out For a Teacher’s Heart (FaTH) and more at http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/KeishaAMitchellPhD  and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=emOifCZt7dg   .

Photo courtesy of Braden Collum on Unsplash.

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