Sunday, June 13, 2010

Rules of the road

Cruising North on CT Route 7 on Saturday morning was a blast (except for a little rain). Terry, Joe and I were motorcycling to the Rhinebeck Grand National Super Meet at the Dutchess County Fairgrounds in Rhinebeck, NY. One of the benefits of a country road motorcycle ride is the time to think and reflect.

I did not solve any worldly problems, but it did occur to me that many of the rules of the road for motorcyclists are the same as those for work teammates and leaders. Here are a few of them:

- Arrive on time and ready to go.
- Know the laws and abide by them.
- Keep a safe distance between riders.
- Be prepared for the unexpected.
- Point out road hazards to those that follow you.
- Continuously monitor the situation and react accordingly.
- Be courteous and tolerant of other riders and traffic.
- Remain focused. Safety first.
- Never leave a rider behind.
- It’s all about having a good time.

If motorcycle rules of the road are so applicable to work teams, I would guess the same is true for many other team based events.

Where other than work do you gain guidance for good teamwork from?


Karel Goodwin said...

My father is a former Civil Engineering professor, who specialized in Highways and Traffic. One of the rules of the road that he taught me is "Never be an obstacle". This means don't travel slower than than the pace of the traffic and if you have to travel slower, then take the access road. How does this apply to the world of work?

It means never stop learning new skills such that you can stay up in the traffic lane of the "job-seekers" and your co-workers. If you don't, then you will be passed up for promotion and less likely to find a job.

This is why I'm finishing an MBA so late into my life. My former co-workers graduated on the 5 year MBA program, something that was never offered to me. And now that I am jobhunting, it is more about what I don't know than what I know.

In terms of leadership, it is important for leaders to understand that people are unpredictable, much like drivers. Some of us follow a path in life that is marked by benchmarks. Others occassionally take a winding road. While others wander their way through life. How can anyone discount our skills based on how we got here?

Unknown said...

Another lesson from this is that teamwork is important, even in nominally individual activities like riding. Not only do you have to cooperate with your fellow riders, but with the other traffic. (And for that matter, with the agencies who create and maintain the roads.)
At some level I always knew this (thanks Mom!) -- which may be why I like baseball so much with its unique synthesis of individual and team effort. But it really became clear to me from my children's activities. In soccer of course teamwork was obvious -- the team with the ball-hogging ringer (and the coach that let him be a ball hog) usually wasn't the best team. But in Scouting -- where advancement relies on individual initiative -- teamwork among the boys still ends up being key to a good (and fun) program.

Peter Dawson said...

I always say that a good team /TeamWork is based on ;

1) Tolerance
2) Honesty
3) Commitment
4) Dedication
5) Flexibility

==>Where other than work do you gain guidance for good teamwork from?

Documentary's of animals , is my fav zone to gain insight. Watching a pack of wolves hunt.. a pack of seals taking on the Sharks.. National geographic channels it great for this stuff.

I like the insight on the Bee, who flyies straight home and does the strange dance, which clearly indicates to the others, the source of nector. The dance in and by itself, directs the others to the exact location, distance to source , type of nector etc.. That is called as good communication !! The dance never lies, the hive is commited to collect, workers and drones are dedicated to the hive, and the Collector bees are flexiable to fly far and wide.. This in my world is the best team work that I have seen :)-

I don't know about others, but too me, the animal world is a great place to learn and understand the dynamics of teamwork

Blythe Hart said...

I take my dog to the dog park, and it is extremely important to be mindful of others. You have to remember that it is a public space - you're not the only one there!

Look out behind you, you don't know who you might step on if you backpedal.
Clean up after your own messes (or your dog's), because otherwise someone else will step in it.
There are usually a few community toys, and it is always good fun to play with them - but make sure you know before you throw.
Dogs are usually pretty unselfish when it comes to the love that they give, and making friends is easy for them. They can also upset each other easily - and forgive and move past quickly to keep having fun.
Sometimes a dog-pile among friends will happen, as long as everyone comes out with tails wagging.

Anonymous said...

Having faith in your team that they are capable of accomplishing the goals set forth makes a leaders job much easier. If the rules, objectives and goals are clear; a leader can rest on the capabilities of his workers to get the job done.

Just as the bikers relies on his fellow bikers to pave the way, as do employees look upon their boss to guide them through good examples.

Thanks for that analogy John.

Petra Mohr said...

Dear John, as I've troubles on posting comments on "LIAV" directly, I'll send you today via linkedin my comment to your very interesting blog "Rules of the rule". Thanks for posting it in my behalf, if you think it's interesting. Petra

I can see parallels to the job by playing Golf.

Even though I've made a very well 1rst shot with the driver there's no guarantee that I'll play the whole as par. Every shot must be brilliant also the put.

To improve (the handicap) all components must fit during the tournament. But most important is the team you're playing with. If I've strong challengers I play much more better then playing with people which are just on the course for fun. If the team fits to me I can improve, otherwise hardly...

Arrive on time - VERY important, otherwise you can be disqualified
Know the laws - Existential!
Keep a safe distance - have you ever been struck by a golf ball?

Omar Zavala said...

Assign chores accordingly
Give clear instructions
Know what is negotiable and what is not

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