If Race Around Ireland taught us one thing, it was “expect the unexpected”. No matter how many scenarios you have planned for, something will always crop up. The key to success on endurance events like RAW and RAAM and is to be able to adapt; this goes for both the racer and the crew. You need to be able to keep a level head when things aren’t going to plan, work with the hand you are dealt with and focus on the mission. This is easy to say, but much harder to do when you are tired, hungry, out of your comfort zone and working with people that you don’t know very well. The more resilient you are, the easier that coping in these situations will be, both as individuals and as a team.
I was very proud of our team’s performance in Race Around Ireland. The crew worked very hard and quickly settled into a routine despite this being their first event of this kind. We dealt with issues calmly, kept a sense of humour and although ultimately we didn’t finish the race, we still achieved something impressive. For RAW, we’ve a slightly different crew and a bigger challenge and myself and Crew Chief Kyle decided that it would be good to get some external development coaching for the team, specifically looking at “Resilience”.
Effective Challenge specialise in working with teams and individuals to improve resilience and last Sunday, the team gathered bright and early at the Millennium Madjeski Hotel with the aim of understanding more about ourselves, each other and how we can work together better to achieve our mission, led by Damian from EC.
We started off looking at our own connection to the mission before moving on to look at building the right foundations for the team, focusing on a model called Lencioni’s Pyramid. The pyramid is built on Trust and Openness, which then enables you to engage in Constructive Conflict, gaining full Individual Commitment, ensuring that you Hold Each Other Accountable and paying Attention to Team Results. It’s a very powerful construct and one we returned to throughout the day – we will be very emotionally vulnerable during the race and trust and openness are key.
Moving on, we spent some time looking at how we are wired, using the “Chimp Model” (I’d encourage anyone to read the Chimp Paradox by Dr. Steve Peters if you haven’t already) and how this wiring makes us respond in certain situations. We also looked at personality types and how to exploit these to our advantage as well as to understand how the differences can be challenging. We also looked at how to communicate better with each other.
We then analysed the demands of the mission and all its challenges so that we could look at the gaps that we need to bridge. This gave us confidence in the work we’ve done so far, but also highlighted some areas that we still need to work on.
Resilience is all about dealing with challenges and finally we moved on to look specifically at our “bump strategy”… how we act and make decisions when things start going wrong. This pulled together everything we’d covered throughout the day but above all, made us really hone in on the mission. We developed the tag line “does it make the bike go faster?” which along with Damian’s phrase “basics done brilliantly” helps to simplify how we need to act.
It was an absolutely brilliant session and it’s a credit to Damian that by 4.30pm on a sunny Sunday afternoon, everyone was still energised and engaged in the wrap up, all looking at what we would be taking away and what our immediate actions would be. We’ve all learnt a huge amount that applies in everyday life as well as for RAW and RAAM and we’ve certainly come out a much more cohesive and focused team. Roll on RAW!