“When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.” – Author Unknown
It’s hard to get any type of momentum going when you’re riding a dead horse.
Dead horses don’t move.
The term dead horse, is a metaphor for whatever project, system, or strategy you’re using to move you or your team forward. But it’s stopped working. At some point, the “horse” you were riding not only stopped…it died. You can try to keep moving with it, but now all you’re doing is dragging your dead horse instead of riding it.
As the opening quote states, your best strategy is to dismount. You’ve lost momentum. In order to regain movement in a positive direction you need to do one of two things:
1. Launch something.
We like new things. A launch provides a lot of energy and excitement. It creates instant momentum. Launch something like you would a rocket from the ground. It requires a great amount of thrust to move this heavy piece of steel on liftoff, through the atmosphere, and into space. But once you get going – after the initial launch – it’s easier to keep the rocket moving.
2. Leverage something.
Leverage is all about taking something that you already have and using it to gain or achieve something else. In the case of the dead horse metaphor, you might not be able to ride it any longer, but you can sell off the parts (metaphorically speaking) to help you move in a new direction. This is where the idea of “needing money to make money” comes from. Momentum in a positive direction is continual as long as you can build off of previous momentum (think flywheel).
Leverage asks the question: Now that I’ve have this, how can I use it to achieve that?
Whenever you launch or leverage something to achieve momentum you will face resistance. The resistance is the friction that causes things to slow down, to stop, and to sometimes die. We have to launch a rocket to push it through the resistance of gravity. We need to leverage a recent success to push through the resistance that comes from being a “one hit wonder.”
The resistance is what makes momentum so difficult to maintain.
Can you identify the areas in your life and leadership where it is time to dismount off of a dead horse?
What type of resistance are you facing in your attempts to create momentum?
Do you need to launch something new?
Have you adequately leveraged what you currently have in order to accomplish future objectives?