A bike, like your team, relies on vastly different moving parts to get you to your destination.
There’s always the unknown in cycling; flats, crashes, mechanical issues, aggressive drivers, dogs, squirrels, you name it, it’s out there waiting to ruin your ride.
Consider the bike itself; so many intricate and different components relying on each other and proper maintenance to perform like an orchestra. One wrong note and you’re sidelined.
Then, there’s the infamous squeak. How many times have you heard that odd sound coming from your bike and thought it might go away. Once you get used to it, your chain has eaten your derailleur.
It’s the same with teams.
Illness, performance issues, attitudes, divorce, personality clashes, you name it, it’s out there waiting to tear your team apart. And, there’s always that squeak, a nagging issue that goes from ripple to tsunami in an instant. Like rust on steroids, ignoring the small stuff eats away at your team.
Some things to consider:
- Learn how your bike and team works. Ask your local bike shop mechanic if you can get a hands-on rundown of the major issues you might face on the road and how you would fix them. There are also plenty of videos and articles on the subject. As for your team, dissect it the same way. List your team members along with their strengths, weaknesses, and tendencies. Assign your team members to a part of your bike and see where you’re loaded and lacking. Who is steady and strong but needs to be steered, like your wheels? Who can you lean on to help you lead, like your handlebars? Who drives the team from within and can adapt to changing inclines, like your chain ring? Who keeps you on track like your Garmin? Take a picture of your bike and place your team members appropriately alongside their part. You’ll see where you need help and where you’re strong.
- Take care of your bike and team and you’ll be rewarded. Nothing works better than preventative maintenance. Check in with your people on a regular basis, reward their successes in meaningful, sincere ways and listen to their ideas and concerns. Take your bike in for regular check-ups, wash it regularly, and keep your chain clean.
- Address the squeak immediately. Don’t let an issue grow out of control. Learn to recognize the early warning signals and respond immediately.
- Replace parts and team members when necessary. A bad fit or defective part will throw everything and everyone out of whack. Spend your time leading, not fixing.
- Let your team know how much you enjoy the ride. Your approval should be seen before it’s spoken.
- Make certain you and everyone involved knows where you’re going and how you’re getting there. If you need to recalculate your direction, communicate.
If you’ve ever experienced that amazing ride or been part of an outstanding team, you know the unlimited potential of both; they will change your life and the world.