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Business Unplugged™
This blog features Carol Roth's tough love on business and entrepreneurship, as well as insights from Carol's community of contributors.

Is Being a Chicago Driver Hurting Your Business?

Written By: Carol Roth | Comments Off on Is Being a Chicago Driver Hurting Your Business?
Three habits of the country’s worst drivers can illustrate what not to do in business

The unofficial state animal for Illinois is the construction horse and the Chicagoland area is home, in my opinion, to some of the worst- if not the absolute worst- drivers in the entire country.

As I observe (aka curse) the behaviors of these drivers on a daily basis, I have realized that there are parallels between how Chicagoans drive and the self-sabotaging behaviors of entrepreneurs.

Here are three behaviors that can wreck your car- and your business.

The Lane Change Game

Pick a lane, any lane… One of my “favorite” habits of many Chicagoland area drivers is to drive with a bunch of frenetic energy, constantly changing lanes every few minutes (or sooner, in some cases) en route to a destination.  The funny thing is, every time I hit a red light, I arrive at generally the same time as the guy who was playing a real life version of Pole Position.  Yet he has expended all kinds of crazy energy (and created some danger for himself and others) in doing so.

Entrepreneurs do the same thing in business.  Instead of driving along in a straight line, focusing on their task to reach their goal, they expend all kinds of energy on unnecessary, unproductive and foolish activities.  Don’t waste your time and energy on stuff that could be done with a lot less energy.  Stay focused- pick a lane and stay there until you reach your destination, unless there is a serious roadblock or issue in front of you.  Just be wary of constantly changing lanes without making progress.


Almost every time I hit the highway during an off-peak driving time and traffic comes to a stop, I know the culprit- rubbernecking.  Whether it is an accident on the other side of the highway or the Teamsters parading their giant blowup rat on a picket line, there are always side-shows to look at en route to your destination.  And Chicago drivers can’t resist slowing down to take a peek at what is going on.  This causes traffic to grind to a complete halt, killing everyone’s ability to get anywhere in a timely fashion- including their own.

While it may seem interesting to check out everything else in your path, taking your eye off the road can cause your own kind of jam.  Do you spend too much time checking out your competition and being interested in what others are doing?  Keep your focus on your own journey because rubbernecking will impede your progress.

Distractions, Distractions, Distractions

Chicagoans like to do everything while driving- texting, drinking coffee, putting on mascara- I even saw a guy SHAVING while driving last week (my camera phone failed me in bringing you that photo, although I tried).  The problem is that you can’t make a bunch of things your number one priority, and if you try to do too many things at once, you do a bunch of things half-assed, instead of one thing well.  These distractions are a leading cause of accidents.

Keep your business focus laser sharp- if you try to do many things in your business at once, or if you get distracted from working on your business, you will likely not achieve the results you are looking for- and may end up with a total wreck of a business.

Article written by
Carol Roth is a national media personality, ‘recovering’ investment banker, investor, speaker and author of the New York Times bestselling book, The Entrepreneur Equation. She is a judge on the Mark Burnett (Shark Tank, The Voice, Survivor, The Apprentice) produced technology competition series, America's Greatest Makers, airing on TBS and Host of Microsoft's Office Small Business Academy show. Previously, Carol was the host and co-producer of The Noon Show, a current events talk show on WGN Radio, one of the top stations in the country, and a contributor to CNBC, as well as a frequent guest on Fox News, CNN, Fox Business and other stations. Carol's multimedia commentary covers business and the economy, current events, politics and pop culture topics. Carol has helped her clients complete more than $2 billion in capital raising and M&A transactions. She is a Top 100 Small Business Influencer (2011-2015) and has her own action figure. Twitter: @CarolJSRoth