The Power of Team

Ferrari F1 Pit Crew

I’m one to flog motorsports analogies to help make a point. The image above is one I’ve used often in presentations to help businesses understand how a team comes together in support of their goals, and that success is determined by the ability of this team to work together and not by the talent inherit in any one individual. This is as true for designing buildings as it is for designing websites. The team is much, much bigger than the sum of it’s parts. When talking about this, I’ll often say something to the effect of:

“If our client is the driver, the car is their business, and the track is the competitive marketplace, we want to create, lead and support the best team to help our client win.”

I know, it’s a bit excessive. But it works. There’s something about a Formula 1 pit crew, as pictured above, that makes this clear and that everybody gets. First, races are often won or lost based on how well the pit crew can execute the pit strategy, and the pressure to perform is intense as they typically have between 4-8 seconds to change tires, refuel, and make important adjustments. Each member of the crew is very highly accomplished not just at their specific task, but in their ability to seamlessly integrate into the larger event of a pit stop. Each crew member must intuitively understand where they fit into this precision drill, and understand their physical relationship to the other crew members, the vehicle, and the crew leader. It’s exciting to watch a team in action, and with Formula 1 racing the best spectating is often just watching the different teams execute their pit strategies.

And so it is in business, design, architecture, marketing, advertising, and anything else that depends on people working together for success. Henry Ford was right, putting effort to team building and understanding, to learning how to work well together, is success itself.

Update: A friend sent on the image below to further beat the pit crew analogy to death. It’s a great image, and adds some clarity to the six second chaos we spectators witness when the racing cars enter the pits.


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