Nice Guys do Finish First: NASCAR
Daytona 500 Ė A Leadership Lesson
by Dr. Karen Otazo
What an experience
to meet Kevin Harvick at the Daytona 500. I expected to meet an
experienced professional . He was also a savvy organizational
player and a caring leader. And a really nice guy! As we drove
around the course and conversed on Sunday morning and as I later
watched him in action, Kevin demonstrated his leadership skills
people new to the organization:
sure that a new player learned ďthe ropesĒ of his new organization.
Juan Pablo Montoya had just moved from the Formula One racing.
Kevinís coaching was something like: ďDonít expect to do well the
first time. Itís your job is to learn the track and make friends.
Your friends are your lifelines which can keep you alive and help
you win. He showed his personal thoughtfulness in small and
on going forward with no complaints:
Harvickís car had had mechanical problems during the qualifying
round, he had a 34th place starting position which affected his
positioning and pit stop position. He wasnít worried and didnít
vision was that his car, his team and his sponsor were right for the
track and the race. He didnít sweat the small stuff. He kept his
eyes on the end game.
through set backs:
when his car was damaged he pulled back to let the air flow to the
radiator to cool it down and got the problem fixed at the next pit
stop. He didnít worry about falling back ; he just worked on
getting back into the top ten. The set back didnít upset him.
on the way up:
Once he got
in a good position and saw an opening Kevin took the outside lane
with help from his many friends. As he made his move for the finish
line he got a push from behind more than once from the same guys who
could have blocked his trajectory.
on the prize:
never looked back as other cars had wrecks. He kept his eye on the
prize though he looked out for other drives. (We could hear his
comments by radio as he communicated with his team.) He stayed
balanced and focused at every moment.
Harvick thanked all of his team immediately after his win and
expressed his sincere congratulations to the man he beat by a nose.
He sent his sponsor team an email on Monday.
granddaughter, Danielle, asked for a NASCAR Dale Earnhardt Barbie
for her birthday in March. Kevin Harvick replaced Dale Earnhardt in
the Richard Childress group on the NASCAR circuit. What a small