How business is like Formula 1: Harnessing the power of trust and teamwork

Do you trust the people that you work with? I don't mean just trust them to keep a secret. It's about having each other's backs, being reliable, and delivering on promises!

Harnessing the power of trust and teamwork

Do you trust the people that you work with? I don’t mean just trust them to keep a secret. It’s about having each other’s backs, being reliable, and delivering on promises! Can you count on your colleagues to share the important stuff, meet those deadlines, and follow through on tasks?

If not, you are not alone. Lack of trust is like a pesky fly buzzing around the office; it’s one of those common problems that organisations just can’t seem to shake off. As a motivational speaker, it’s my job to help teams overcome these problems, and I have noticed a common pattern with the businesses I work with, team members do not trust each other! 

This is because deadlines get missed, promises get broken, communication gets lazy, and information gets withheld. 

There are many analogies I deliver to help my concepts come to life. From Tom Hanks in Castaway, to Chumbawamba, Tubthumping, there is one analogy that consistently resonates with audiences and vividly portrays to delegates the importance of their role and trusting their colleagues.

So let’s talk about Formula 1, specifically the Red Bull Team. Love ‘em or hate ‘em, there’s no denying that they have been an exceptional force in the sport, defining the very essence of a high-performance team. In 2019 they took the world record for the fastest pit stop, an unfathomable 1.82 seconds. (About the same amount of time it takes to say ‘pitstop’)

The secret sauce behind their pit stop success? Trust! Each pit crew member knows they can count on their teammates. When the tire’s needed, it’s there like magic. Tightening that wheel? You bet someone’s got their back. And when it’s time to hit the gas, they trust the release will be smooth and safe. With the exception of the odd chaotic pitstop (we all make mistakes) no one is hanging around waiting for a team member to be ready. When one member performs at their maximum potential, it allows others to do the same.

That’s the trust we should all strive for in our organisations! It’s like a synchronised dance where everyone knows their moves, and they’ve got each other’s rhythm down pat.

Let’s talk about how they achieve this, here are ten ways to improve trust in your team.

  • Communicate openly and honestly.
  • Demonstrate reliability and consistency.
  • Be transparent with information and decisions.
  • Listen actively and show empathy.
  • Keep commitments and meet deadlines.
  • Share credit and acknowledge contributions.
  • Avoid gossip and foster a positive environment.
  • Respect and value diverse perspectives.
  • Encourage collaboration and teamwork.
  • Apologise and take responsibility for mistakes.

Having difficult conversations is essential when trust breaks down in the workplace. These conversations can be challenging, but they are crucial for understanding the root causes of the breakdown and the impact it has had on individuals and the team as a whole. By addressing the issues openly and honestly, you create an opportunity to rebuild trust and find solutions to prevent similar problems in the future. 

But this is only possible if your team members feel valued, respected, and heard throughout the process. When employees feel valued, they are more likely to be honest about their concerns and provide valuable insights into the issues at hand.

Let’s face it, when you hear “Red Bull,” Max Verstappen and Christian Horner might be the first names that pop into your head, it’s more than just them though. It’s a whole symphony of talents working together with the same mission and vision. It’s not just the pit crew hustling on race day; it’s the marketing wizards, the financial maestros, the procurement gurus, and the HR heroes. Each and every member of the Red Bull organisation plays a crucial role in their roaring success, and that is just like business.

See, it’s not just one superstar; it’s the power of trust and teamwork that fuels the fire. 

Alison Edgar MBE
Alison Edgar MBE

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