Hello SOTGC Community,
One can’t discuss sports without talking about teamwork. Whether it’s a team sport such as football or an individual sport like tennis, success is never achieved alone. Even if you’re the only player on the court, you are still surrounded by a support team of coaches, doctors and trainers.
It’s no different in business, no matter your profession. While you may be a one-woman show, you still can’t conquer the world without someone to fix your computer, ship your packages or grow your vegetables for dinner.
Like your life, NASCAR teams succeed because everyone works together. While you may see the guys in the pit crews filling up gas and changing the tires, you don’t often think about the strategy that goes on behind the scenes. There are processes and analysis that goes into every bit of the race from how to get the cars from one race track to the next to tracking every tool, screw and piece of tape that is in the garage. One misstep in this high stakes game and your team fails. While you might not be a motorhead, we have a few examples of how the business of NASCAR teams is relatable in everyday team building conversations.
- Building a wining team. While the name in lights is the driver’s each car has a team made up of a crew chief (devises the game plan to be successful), the driver (using communication and skill executes the game plan) and the pit crew (knows their roles and executes them in accordance to the game plan). While the crew chief makes every day decisions all of the big decisions run through the owner. Some owners even own more than one race car team. These teams are no different than developing a team in the workplace. They’re put together with precision, chemistry and team goals in mind.
- See the overall picture. While the team is in pit row knee deep in tires and fuel, there are spotters for each team watching the race. Their job is to see the overall strategy and look for opportunities for passing or help the driver avoid an impending accident. While you may not recognize them as spotters, they exist in every day life. Whether it’s your co-worker who sets you up on a blind date, your accountant who gets you a larger tax return or your friend who spots the next fashion trend before Amal Clooney; spotters will help you navigate to your goals.
- Focused on one clear goal. Another facet to the race is the pit stop. This is where teams of six work together to address a problem the driver is having. It might be new tires, low on fuel or they need a new fender. The goal is to have the stop completed in the ideal time of 12 seconds. Every member of the pit crew has their assigned role from the tire passer, to the gas person to the fire extinguisher to make the stop quick and efficient. When a team knows their role and is laser focused on their goal, they can accomplish tasks that are impossible alone.
- Constant improvement. Lean processing isn’t only for a work process or manufacturing floor. NASCAR teams have leaned out their pit stops where preparation, execution and every second matter. They practice just in time with their gas tanks or visual management to differentiate the back tires from the front. Did you know that they actually use clear tear-off windshield screens to save time instead of cleaning them with a brush? Team analysts are constantly working with the team to improve the how operations run to reach the ultimate goal – winning.
We’re in the beginning of the NASCAR “Chase for the Cup” where 16 drivers race for the title of the best in racing. For more about the “Chase” and other trending topics in sports, check out our free triweekly publication – The Rundown. We’ll keep you in the fast lane on sports so you can join the conversation.