Most of the activities we do as a team aren't life or death situations, which is probably a good thing, because sometimes, operating as a team can seem more challenging than the actual task at hand. However, even in non-life-threatening scenarios, the risk of not
working together creates an endless list of problems including errors, wasted time, and mediocre results. Companies spend billions of dollars on team building activities, many of which do not address the root problem: knowing and trusting each team player's role; that is, unless you get to train with the Formula One Racing Pit Crew.
Believe it or not, working in the car pits is no different than working in an operating room, on a sports team, or in business. In fact, hospitals all over the world are turning to Formula One to reduce doctor errors, and they're seeing incredible results. Interestingly, most complications don't occur during surgery, but rather in the hand off from the operating table to ICU. One would think this was the easy part of the journey, but unfortunately, many lack four major elements: communication, sequence, checklists, and training. And, as you can imagine, errors in critical care can become irreversible.
So what do we have to learn from the pit crew? First, each team needs a "lollipop man", or what we would call a leader. No matter the task, someone needs to be in charge. Second, each person needs to be very clear about when it is their time to complete their task – no jumping ahead. Third, everyone needs to follow the process, and all steps need to be completed and communicated to the next person, and finally, no one gets on the pit crew unless they have proven themselves; desire to be a part of the team is not enough.
Personally, I have never changed a tire, which is probably a bit sad in its own right, but I can promise you I could never do it in two seconds. The Formula One team, however, has it down to a science, and probably never thought that one day, their process might save
Can the Formula One process make a difference with your team?