Team Performance

Team Time Trial
Team Time Trial

This team is racing flat out.

Each rider following inches behind their team mate, no margin for error.

This high speed train functions beautifully as a result of honesty, practice, trust and attitude.

And the team delivers its performance by stopping the clock as the last rider crosses the line.

Not the first, the last.

When was the last time you helped someone over the line?


Leadership – The Trust Overlap

I’ve been doing a lot of listening lately*. From that listening is emerging a new leadership model. Here’s part one. I will share the rest as it…emerges.

What you say.

What you do.

Where they overlap, you get trust. That’s cool.

Where they don’t, you get trouble. That’s what you deserve.

*This post inspired by conversations with Jonathan Wilson, Nicky Hulm, Karen Barnett, Lindsay Rushton and Catherine Stamp. Thanks folks.

The serious business of fun

The past few days have been fun. Serious fun. Principally I blame two people for this, each of whom I met for the first time a few days ago. First in the dock is Nish Kotak, second up is cycling legend Chris Boardman.

Nish is MD of execellence, and he kindly invited me and several others interested in sustainable change, to an event last week. We listened with interest to the guest speaker, Emily Walker. Emily’s talk provoked a lively questions and answers session. A great debate full of agreement and constructive disagreement. Afterwards I spent some time talking with Nish and a colleague of his, Helen Pybus. What struck me about both of them, and the other people they introduced me to, was a serious sense of fun. I don’t mean clown suits or endless jokes. I mean a lively spark, a genuine sense of interest, and enjoyment. Enjoyment for the moment, for their business and for their clients and contacts. I left the event buzzing with excitement, what fun.

The following day I met Chris Boardman. As a keen cyclist this was a rare, exciting opportunity for me. Chris was with a few of us to talk about innovation and his part in leading the hugely successful technical team which supported our cyclist at the Beijing Olympics. What really fascinated me was the honesty with which Chris spoke about his transition from solo selfish focussed sporting superstar, to a visionary, exciting team leader. At the very essence of this transition were some really interesting things that Chris felt are essential when it comes to high performing teams. I list them here and will come back to these in more detail at a later date:

Value diversity
Clear Definition of Roles
Parked Egos
Share Praise

Chris illustrated this last essential, the glue that holds all the others together, with some great photos. His team have lots of fun and conceive, develop and deliver exciting sporting innovation and excellence. Their collective sense of fun was a major contributor to a huge haul of Olympic medals. Fun at the highest level.

Fast forward to last night and I was privileged to be catching up with two ex-colleagues. We spoke about times past and opportunities yet to come. Without exception, the reflection was all about the fun we had working together. Working to overcome challenges, deliver success, whatever, what mattered was the fun that made it memorable.

People often ask me how I manage to have so much fun in work. It’s my job. And I now realise that I’m connected to fun everywhere. It’s a serious business.