The Peloton and Good Organizational Karma

haulin netEarly this morning I jotted down some thoughts at LeaderTalk on the Power of the Peloton. In it I ask some questions that help extend the metaphor of the peloton to organizational life.

So how did this morning’s ride go?

Six riders (five regulars and one new guy) met at daybreak. We agreed upon a course—forty-three miles at a brisk pace. And we set out.

Early in the ride, the new guy was charging too hard up a hill. I had to let him know that we would have a rider or two crack at that pace and that we would need everyone over the long haul. So he adjusted his speed to keep the group in tact.

Soon, though, one rider cracked (which in cycling parlance means he fatigued beyond comeback). That rider informed a rider who dropped back that he had already run six miles this morning, and his legs were shot. He would spare the group and drop out.

From there, the five of us picked up the tempo and finished strong. We timed forty miles, averaging a tad over 21 mph. The power of the peloton—riders taking turns out front—allowed the group to finish faster and stronger than had any of us gone the route solo.

With a few miles to go, we pulled off the main road onto a beautiful beach drive. We powered down to a conversational pace and reflected on our successful ride. As we rode side by side, instead of in a line, we laughed and drank . . . Gatorade.

So, what’s all this got to do with organizational life?

  1. We effectively and efficiently communicated our common goal.
  2. We indoctrinated the unfamiliar with group norms.
  3. A team member who was holding back the group graciously dropped off. That doesn’t mean he is out of the group or won’t come back. It just means he has to think about how he can be best prepared next time out.  (We would have adjusted our pace to keep him in the pack over the duration if he had chosen to stay in, but we would not have accomplished the same finishing results.)
  4. We flew like the wind.
  5. We reflected and celebrated our success.

We have been doing this for years.


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