Riding a bicycle is very enjoyable to me and setting out on a 15-20 mile ride, just me and the bike is a good way to spend 60-90 minutes. But when I am ready to log more miles on my bike, I know I will be able to ride better if I am with a group.
Have you ever watched the telecast of the challenging bicycle race the “Tour de France?” On many of the days a few cyclists, 3-7, will break away from the main pack and it seems in no time they are 5-12 minutes ahead of the remaining peleton of 125 riders. To the novice viewer it seems that the main group has given up and will let the breakaway win the day. But the main group knows the breakaway can be easily caught...why? A larger group can go faster because they are sharing the load of leading and pooling their resources.
When I ride by myself I am always out in front, no one sharing the load of leading. I have to keep focused on the task and slow down some to keep my heart rate in check. When I am riding with a group I can go out in front and set a pace. When I need a break I let someone else take the lead and I draft behind them. We keep the same speed but my heart rate will go down 25 beats. We learn that some riders lead better up hills, still others on curvy roads and still others on flat straights.
As leaders I believe we can be reminded of some valuable lessons about leading an organization from the cycling illustration:
- A focused goal is important to communicate
- Getting everyone to buy into the goal is imperative
- Lone rangers often do not have the necessary resources to reach the goal
- If the goal has been communicated to the team and everyone buys-in, then pooled resources make success a reality
- Groups working toward a common goal spend less individual resources
- Encouraging the team members to lead out in areas where they are best
I love going on bike rides…I go faster when with a group.
I love setting organizational goals…I know we accomplish them better as a focused team.