What I Learned about Teams, I Learned on a Bike

Yesterday 11 of us headed out on a 40-mile bike ride that took us through Gettysburg National Military Park. Among us were some expert riders (you know the type — a 100-miles is a circle through the park), some seasoned riders (I’ll put myself in this category with enough miles under the belt to ride strong and long), some new riders and a couple of “emerging” riders. My emerging I mean they’ve been on the bike enough to know they’d like to learn more and take on more.

(Sound familiar yet? Maybe just a tad like many of our association committees and/or boards?)

Our team, affectionately called “Cyclopathsonastorm,” is lead by a fearless twosome (and more). We have the best mapper in the world, who is by the way is one of slower riders, and the best lead in the world who can ride faster and longer that many. They are aided by several ride leads who keep us on course, assure all riders are accounted for and offer encouragement just by being able to ride in the front, in the middle and in the rear with equal applomb.

(Notice how the group members are encouraged to take on roles that fit them?)

We have a shared vision: ride for fun. A shared mantra: no rider is left behind. A shared policy: we stop and regroup at all major turns. A shared mission: build sport ridership. You see this group doesn’t really focus on leisure rides and we mostly go for 30+ miles with more in the 50 range. But, every ride has a fun element. This week’s was named “History with a side of BBQ and ended with lunch at Chubby’s. A while back we had the “covered bridge” ride.

(Notice the refined focus, promise of fun and simple set of guiding principals.)

Membership is open to anyone with a bike who’s ready and willing to ride the distance with good humor. In this ride we had a number of newbies and emerging riders. That meant we did some coaching and mentoring along the way.

(We’re open but we realize that there is a minimum standard which is a having the right equipment and the right attitude. But we didn’t overdo the requirements.)

Over lunch we celebrated the ride, the new riders and the fun. I will take all these lessons to my teams. What lessons can you take from your favorite group to work?