“Driver” Syndrome the Passenger Seat

DIRECT and REVIEW, INTERPRET your VISION and sit on the EXECUTIVE VIEW so that you can RESPOND accurately

Photo by Ono Kosuki on Pexels.com

For the past two and half years, I’ve been driving passing the new development in my neighbourhood. I thought it was delayed or on hold due to COVID. Last month we had a friends’ retreat, and my friend gave me a lift to the venue. He picked me up at my house, and I sat in the back passenger seat next to the “Executive View” window. I couldn’t believe my eyes, and the development was almost done. The high walls of the development and my driver orientation didn’t allow me to see development progress in the last two years. Because of my driving orientation, I assumed that the development was on hold. When my friend noticed my reaction, he laughed and said, ‘Driver Syndrome’. He then shared a similar story he experienced a few years ago. He said most leaders and goal-oriented individuals suffer from this illness, and he called it Driver Syndrome. 

He said most leaders spend most of their time and energy on the version, goals and targets. They track the progress, monitor and evaluate and make corrections. The leader sits in the driving position of the organization. They do not have the opportunity to sit on the passenger seat or take time to sit on the passenger seats and have the Executive View. This applies to goal-oriented individuals, and they focus on their individual goals. The goal-oriented individuals do not have the luxury of sitting in the passenger seat and experiencing the Executive View. That why coaching is recommended for goal-oriented individuals to assist with the Executive View.

He explained the passenger seat view using Dakar racing as an analogy. The organisation’s leader behaves like a car or truck driver. The driver of the car does not have the view of the passenger, and the same applies to the leader. If you have ever watched the Dakar racing, all the drivers have the passenger driver for the route management and the Executive View on time to make the tactical decision.

What is the Executive View?

Executive View allows leaders to examine and evaluate the organization at every level from multiple perspectives. Assess current status, conduct historical point-in-time analysis, examine trends, or model scenarios – in minutes – not days, weeks, or months. Only in the passenger seat can the leaders examine and evaluate the organization at every level from multiple perspectives.

The managerial span of control is between 11 to 15 direct reports. A leader’s role typically manages 8 to 10 direct reports. The work in this role gets more complex, and the leader often has a level of individual responsibility, which requires skill and experience to balance effectively. That is one of the reasons the passenger seat is crucial for leaders to have the Executive View.

We have seen the Executive View method applied in sports. One of the dominating soccer teams worldwide has three senior coaches, one manager and an army of technical team experts. This allows the team manager to sit on the passenger seat and experience the Executive View. Unfortunately, not all organizations have the luxury of resources due to financial constraints. This leads to server social, untouchable personal issues, relationships, personal health issues and damage to organizational culture.

The DRIVER model is established for leaders and goal-oriented individuals to make time to sit in the passenger seat and experience the Executive View.

Figure 1: DRIVER Model




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