When I first started driving, there were not many moments that I can recall where I rolled up on a car to see who was sitting in the back seat. In fact, many times the back windows were tinted, so if you wanted to get an idea about who the other passengers might be in the car you had to get a glimpse of who was sitting in the front. The people in the front seats were indicators of who occupied the back seats.
This principle applies to churches and businesses alike. If you like what you see in the front seat of an organization, there is likely to be at least one incredible leader occupying the back seat. BackSeat Leaders are often unnoticeable at first sight, but once you examine the organization a little closer you can usually find backseat leaders behind the scenes, administrating vision, funding the dream and making the front man or woman in the organization look like a genius.
Throughout history there have been notable backseat leaders that without their influence the leaders we know by name would be unknown to us. Let’s take a moment and reflect on some of the greatest back seat and front seat relationships ever formed.
The electric light bulb catapulted Thomas Edison to fame and fortune. But Edison, like many entrepreneurs with more ideas than capital, needed financial partners to fund his inventions. Throughout the 1870s and 1880s, Edison received funding from a group of wealthy investors, including J.P. Morgan and the Vanderbilt family, helping lay the groundwork for what eventually became the Edison Electric Light Co. In 1879.
We hear a lot about the Wright brothers who built their first airplane in 1903 which was followed by the first historic flight at Kitty Hawk, N.C. What you don’t hear about is their father who gave them a toy helicopter with twirling blades powered by a rubber band in 1878. The brothers later credited their father’s gift with sparking their interest in flight.
When we thing of Apple we immediately think of Steve Jobs, and rightly so. However, Steve Jobs co-founded Apple with Steve Wozniak in 1976, with Wozniak handling the technical side of things and Jobs handling the marketing. By these two men coming together and combining their gifts and talents, Apple revolutionized the computer industry where both made their fortunes.
These are just a few examples of what happens when we take time to look in the back seat! If you ever consider yourself unsuccessful because you don’t get to sit in the front seat be inspired by those who have sat or are sitting in the back seat! They are some of the most influential people are world has ever known.
Can you think of any great partnerships that have influenced our society?