In other words, are you "sticking together"? I learned the power of being cohesive during a recent 100 mile cycling event ... the Sub5 Century Ride click to benefit the Paul Ruby Foundation for Parkinson's Research click. Cyclists competed in teams of 16 riders, working together as a group to ride 100 miles in under 5 hours. For you non-cycling enthusiasts, it is much easier to ride faster and farther as a group than as an individual.
Here are a few lessons that I learned that I hope can be applied to your business:
- Start with the "right" individuals - we didn't have the strongest individual riders but we did have a group of like-minded, team-oriented cyclists that genuinely cared about each other (youth and enthusiasm is no match for age and cunning). Each person had an "us" versus "me" mentality. The stronger riders understood the benefit of working together; they could've ridden a bit faster but it would've fractured the team;
- Create absolute clarity around the goal - our team captain Pierre (real name) made it clear from the start that our time goal was 4 hours, 40 minutes - period!;
- Gain commitment to the goal - talk is cheap, but we were willing and able to devote time, energy and resources to achieve that goal;
- Be proactive - we were familiar with the course and understood the effects that wind direction and speed would have on our group and we made adjustments accordingly;
- Be supportive - we let each other know when we were feeling good or (in my case) not so good. We thanked each other. A little encouragement goes a long way.
- Measure progress - we used the right data (miles, current speed, average speed, elapsed time) to ensure that we were staying on track. We knew at all times where we were relative to our goal.
- Win - A cohesive team wins, it doesn't just try. And when it's all said and done, more is done than said.
Our team stuck together and met its goal. Despite cold temperatures and high winds we prevailed. A moment of agony really has been forgotten by the joy of the achievement. Thanks Pierre!
Now, something has struck me. Why can we work cohesively in a sporting activity but struggle to be cohesive in a business activity?