Monday 15 July 2013

Lessons from the Tour de France

On 29th June 2013 the Tour de France set off on its 100th edition.  There is no doubt that this is one of the greatest sporting events of the year and undoubtedly one of the hardest.

How the cycling teams prepare for the Tour gives us insights that we can utilise to achieve extraordinary performance in our teams.

 The Tour de France is three weeks of bike racing with most stages over 100 miles in length over some of the highest mountain passes in Europe. I’ve ridden up some of them recently and can vouch for their severity. The race in itself is extraordinary.

Team Sky Sky Professional Cycling Team is closely associated with British Cycling and their concept of improving performance through finding marginal gains is well documented.  Too many organisations however focus on marginally improving the wrong things.  Dave Brailsford the mastermind behind the team’s success starts by ensuring every member of the team is clear about what they want to achieve.  Not surprisingly the nine man cycling team of domestiques, climbers and Chris Froome their leader and favourite for overall victory in the race, know their roles.

All the support team including the mechanics, soigneurs, bus driver, director sportive, and chef are crystal clear about what the team wants to achieve and what they need to do for the team to achieve this dream.  Quite simply their job is to put Chris Froome on the podium in Paris at the end of the race.

To achieve the extraordinary, your leaders, managers, team leaders, supervisors and front line people have to be crystal clear about their role in achieving your organisation's podium finish.  If I asked them what this was would they all give me the same answer?  Are they working together as one winning team?

To find out more book Dave Bradley's  Become extraordinary for your next conference or team meeting.

Friday 15 March 2013

Crazy will do

Transcript from an advert for Apple about 2o years ago.

Here’s to the crazy ones
The misfits. The rebels.
The troublemakers.
The round pegs in the square holes.
The ones who see things differently.
They’re not fond of rules.
And they have no respect for the status quo.
You can praise them, disagree with them, quote them, disbelieve them, glorify or vilify them.
About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things.
They invent. They imagine. They heal. They explore. They create. They inspire.
They push the human race forward. Maybe they have to be crazy.
How else can you stare at an empty canvas and see a work of art?
Or sit in silence and hear a song that’s never been written?
Or gaze at a red planet and see a laboratory on wheels?
We make tools for these kinds of people.
While some see them as the crazy ones, we see genius.
Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.

Thanks to David Hain via

Monday 5 November 2012

Virtual Possibilities

Virtual Possibilities

I have long harboured a desire to become virtual and I don’t mean become an avatar (I did that at the BT TalkZone in the Millenium Dome at the turn of the century and I ended up looking like ET).  What interests me is the ability to do training, coaching, focus groups and the like, conveniently, cheaply and virtually.  Three years ago we did some tests to find out whether group training could be delivered live on line.  After several attempts, with a number of providers, we had to conclude it couldn’t. 

That was then, this is now.  Technology has moved on.  No longer does the internet connection disintegrate or suffer from interminable delay;   software providers have been busy developing technologies that cater for a blend of media and accommodate group interactivity.  All this means the time is right to deliver great sessions live and online. 

This isn’t e- learning, which has its place but limited application and effectiveness.  With live, online training we have a trainer, facilitator, presenter or coach working live with groups.  Interactivity has improved so we can have discussion, experiential activity and breakout sessions.  We can challenge, stimulate, collaborate and create.  People can at last be successfully be engaged.

However, as with most new ideas there are problems; some early providers are switching people off to the possibilities.  Death by PowerPoint is as prevalent in the virtual world as the actual one and zero interaction (apart from the obligatory poll) is the norm.  Poor practice by some trainers is leaving learners confused and alienated.  This new world requires a new approach and, as an experience trainer of many years, I can tell you it does need a new set of skills to complement the existing ones.

There is evidence that people are engaged by this form of training and find it less stressful than live sessions and it certainly has proved more effective than e-learning – but of course, only when it is done well.  It takes skill, imagination and a passion for engaging learners in the session.  And there is nothing new or virtual about those things!