Team Lessons from Le Tour

A recent client request had me reviewing research on high performing teams and I found that Steve Denning’s recent research confirms the work of Katzenbach and Smith (The Wisdom of Teams) and is nicely triangulated by the events of the current Tour de France.

Here are five team lessons that the Tour confirms:

  • A great team will outperform a great individual (Astana trumps Cadel, assuming of course we agree with Cadel that he is the world’s best)
  • A team with a common purpose will outperform teams where members have individual purposes, especially where those purposes conflict (Astana trumps Silence Lotto)
  • A team with complementary roles will outperform a team of superstars (Astana had one day where Armstrong and Contador went head to head but any more would have potentially imploded the team)
  • A team where everyone wants to be a leader and no-one wants to be a doer (domestique) will lead to low likelihood of achieving the team goal (Stage 16)

Le Tour also confirms for me that in a competitive situation, the prize goes not to the one who who thinks s/he deserves it most, but to the one who is prepared to hurt the most to get it.  (Hard work can trump “genius”).

Looking forward to being there in 2010!!!

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