Towing a Yacht With a Prius



Emotional energy.

Creative energy.

Physical energy.

Mental energy.


Every day organizations spend an enormous amount of energy.

But on what?

We withhold or release our energy.

But for what?

There’s only so much energy available to each of us.

And, of course, that means only so much energy available for our organization.

Now – where is it going?





Think about it.


What percentage of your energy or your organization’s energy is spent each day on the things that matter most? The things that move you forward?




I’m really curious about this question.


Over the years, I’ve seen enormous amounts of energy wasted on things that give so little to the cause. I’m guessing you have too.

Here are a few of the energy leaks on my list:

  • Needless meetings
  • Unnecessary rules
  • Filling out forms
  • Micromanagement
  • Turf wars
  • Committees
  • Performance reviews
  • Avoidable rework
  • Outdated procedures
  • Useless reports
  • Interpersonal drama

I could go on. What would you add?

It’s like you’re towing a yacht with a Prius. A Prius is a great, reliable, energy-efficient car, but attach a 50-foot boat to it and well, it might get along for a while as long as there are no inclines anywhere along the route you’re taking.

I think you get the picture.

So perhaps that’s a little extreme but consider how much energy is being consumed by the extra baggage in your work?


I think one of the most important things leaders do is pay attention to the energy in the organization.

They start by paying attention to their own energy.

What gets your energy?

Who gets your energy?

How do you manage your energy?

From this awareness, you can observe where the energy is flowing in your team.

  • Energy spent on the work.
  • Energy spent on innovating.
  • Energy spent on building relationships.
  • Energy spent on growth.
  • Energy spent on problems.
  • Energy spent on worry.
  • Energy spent on busy work.
  • Energy spent on complaining.

And so on.

Why is this important?

Because where attention goes, energy flows.


As a leader, you are in a unique position to influence organizational energy.

To remove the restrictions.

Eliminate the waste.

Lighten the load.

Organizations that manage energy well have a distinct advantage.

They respond more quickly.

Operate more efficiently.

Adapt more easily.

They’re healthier.

This isn’t something you can monitor once in a while.

It needs constant attention.

You check the battery level on your smartphone 10 times a day.

Make it a habit to check the energy level and flow in your organization.

Maybe it’s time to turn off some things that are no longer useful.


  1. Scott, you hit the nail on the head! I drive a Prius and I worked in a wrongly-invested energy environment not long ago. It was one of the most draining and demoralizing experiences I can remember. Thanks for inspiring us to invest our energy knowingly and wisely!


    1. Appreciate the feedback, Susan. I know that experience all to well. So glad the post was encouraging for you.


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