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LEARNING FROM LYCRA

LEARNING FROM LYCRA

I don’t know how many of you sports tragic’s have been up all hours like myself watching Le Tour De France. For those of you not into it, I am sure you know the concept 21 days riding over 3600km’s through some of the toughest French Alps it’s an absolute amazing feat of human endurance (drugs or no drugs!). There always seems to be a common theme especially on the flat stages, a handful of riders decide to have a crack of breaking away from the peleton (the main Pack) and going alone to win the race, they sometimes get 10 minutes ahead of the main Pelton but over time the main pack eventually catches them. Riding in a pack and reducing the wind resistance is around 40% more efficient than riding at the front, I do a bit of cycling and at times you can be sitting in the middle of a group travelling at 40km/h with your heart rate relatively low, however as soon as you take that front spot, maintaining that pace is very hard work, so the most effective way to work is all take short stints of hard efforts at the front as a team. I know this sounds boring to most of you and you have either stopped reading of thinking where are you heading with this Phil?

This has got some relevance and I was pondering while watching the race how relevant this is to business and life in general, and how this is very relevant to my business also.

Working as an effective team requires less effort to attain greater results. But in order for the team to function effectively, there has to be an understanding.

As per the cycling teams, they all had to take a turn at the head of the pack, and have to relinquish that lead after 5 minutes of so in order to maximise the effectiveness of pace. There is no room for ego, but a strong understanding of focussing on the best result for the group.

Teams exist in all walks of life, and every team needs that cohesive selfless performance if they are to bring about optimum performance. No-one needs to organise the cyclists in the Peleton at the Tour de France they simply have an understanding of what needs to be done and understand that they all need to cooperate to get a desired result. Conversely the “Mavericks” that break away from the group hoping to individually bask themselves in glory without working with the team get caught and spat out of the back of the group in 95% of the races.

 

The peleton are instinctive and intuitive and know what to do, and what would elicit the best end result. Following your gut is an extremely powerful tool that the best leaders and the best performers rely on. As the great Tony Robbins quote states: “It’s not knowing what to do; it’s doing what you know. Most people/teams know the best route to take; it is often ego or more selfish agendas that detract from doing it.

Never is this more present than businesses that don’t engage Headhunters to find the best people. (Shameless self-promotion..sorry)

Business leaders are constantly challenged by attracting the best people for their business, every business I know cites finding the best people as their most critical business issue, yet once these leaders highlight the specific need, they try and ride the wind alone, rather than engaging the most appropriate team to deliver.

With all other walks of life, leaders engage experts to deliver critical issues, yet within recruitment, for some reason, businesses so often allow selfishness, ego and “not paying for something I can do myself” attitude to dictate the attraction process. Whether it is the ultimate business leader who insists on their own ability to attract and land the best resource, or the in-house recruitment team who will refuse to join the peleton riding alongside them, often with an outstretched arm offering to ride their wind.

Both will more often than not end in substandard performance like the lone cyclist. The refusal to receive help from those willing and able to provide it can often result in not only a poor performance but in most cases gives them a result that requires them to ride the course again. Some of the slow learners still refuse to ride with the peleton even after their initial mistake.

Head-Hunters must also play the peleton role fully though, not insisting on taking the lead role for the entire ride, allowing the best end result to take precedence above selfish fulfilment, even if the best end result is not their personally preferred option.

….just be glad that even the best Head-Hunters don’t usually wear lycra. Not in the office anyway.