"One of the things that separates elite athletes from the rest is self-knowledge -- they know when to train hard and when to rest. They know how to apportion energy in a race, when to apply pressure and when to let others do the work." Bicycling, December 1989.
Three years after joining Amoco I was asked to write an article that could be shared with new hires on how to make "The transition from college to the workplace". The outcome was this article, published in Visions (Quarterly magazine about people using information technology) in Spring 1991 almost 25 years ago. I find relevance today not just in the initial transition but in sustaining a career. Excerpt ...
The Tour De France, has a number of parallels, in how to be part of a winning team!
- a selection process is involved to qualify
- preparedness; you do not enter a race unprepared
- you can have individual accomplishments along the way
- you have the opportunity to learn from your mistakes and still be in the race
- you win when the team wins
Ready, get set..
First we had to qualify for this race. We were selected to be a part of a great team. The company invested significant resources in the recruiting process to select the best candidate -- YOU. Go!
The team ...
The idea of team is critical to succeeding in the race. Greg LeMond was not good at everything; he knew his strengths and weaknesses and played his strengths to the fullest. He provided a greatperformance at the Tour de France in 1990, but he recognized that the team's contribution was also important. When the team wins, you win. Being your best is probably the most significant contribution you can ever make to the team. Getting to know your team members is important. Give them an opportunity to get to know you also.
Every team player has individual goals. Your individual goals are created by your coach based on the "corporate" goals for the team. Your team lead's role is to counsel and guide, but you are responsible for ensuring that the right goals are set for you. You cannot be expected to set the pace in the mountains, if your forte is the plains. Communication is key. If you feel you are ready for a more important role in the race, or that your skills are not adequately used, then you should talk to your leader to set mutually agreeable goals. Your accomplishments along the way should be measured in "stages". Recognition and reward processes allow you to "wear the yellow jacket" to acknowledge outstanding achievement during the race.
Don't get discouraged. Remember your goals. There will be hurdles along the way, with mountains to climb (that is part of the challenge of being in the race). But there will also be times when the wind will be at your back and you're experiencing great success. The Tour can not be won in a day, be patient. Don't get discouraged; remember the team. There will be times when you will have to encourage your team members, and there will be timeswhen they will reciprocate. Some of your team members may be ahead of you now, others behind you ,and yet others moving at your pace. Know where your team members are in the race. But they have their own goals to meet, and you have yours. Individual consistent effort, and determination pay off because in the end everyone is aligned with the team goal to win.
Enjoy the race...
You chose to be part of the team. Take time out to acknowledge your accomplishments. Look at where you started and how far you have progressed. Thank those who have helped you and are cheering you on to reach your full potential, and reach back and help others.
Look 'forward' to your future challenges... the race is not over.
K.N.O.W.L.E.D.G.E is what it takes to make it and keep going..