Team Leadership – A Road Trip story worth a 1000 Experiences!

You have just come up with an idea for a 3 day road trip that you would like to take your friends on. You started scrolling down your phone book and gave each one a call to let them know about your plan.

Since the car can hold a maximum of 5 individuals, you ended up making a road trip team of 4 members other than yourself who are

  1. John (a.k.a. ” The Mechanic”)
  2. Terry (a.k.a. “The Map Reader”)
  3. Matt (a.k.a. “The Negotiator”)
  4. Linda (a.k.a. “The Thinker”)

The Brainstorming Session

Prior one night from the road trip departure, you called on all the team to sit down and brainstorm all the small details required to be finalized. As much as you had a clear idea about where you will be meeting (Point A) and where you will be heading (Point B), all the points in between were blurry enough to decide on them on your own.
Luckily, you are not alone, and you have a whole team who is committed on making this road trip worth the adventure. It took all members a 3 hour intensive brainstorming session to finalize the whole plan, and “Voila” the result… (Map Below)

Image Credit: www.rowthree.com

It may seem a bit all over the place, but since this was a team effort, all understood well what was drawn.
And so…
you and your team proceeded to have a good night sleep and meet early morning to hit the road.

The Adventure – Meeting Point (Point A)

Image Credit: cdn.europosters.euMeeting point (Point A) was at the local coffee shop on main street. You woke up early to be the first one on the scene and grab the right coffee for each team member.

John was the first to arrive from the team, and there you were with a hot cup of Black freshly brewed coffee ready to serve.

Terry & Matt shared a cab to the meeting point. Terry enjoys his morning with a cappuccino while Matt would drink anything as long as it has splashes of powder cinnamon on top.

And last but not least, the lovely Linda came shortly, always preferred to have a double caramel latte to make her morning as sweet as possible.

The Adventure – In Route
After spending 20 minutes for a coffee break in the early morning, it was time to hit the road. Everyone had their backpack set in the trunk and ready to go, yet before leaving, John “The Mechanic” wanted to make sure that the car has nothing short prior to leaving. So within 5 minutes, he checked all fluids, tire pressure, and made sure all the right tools are there in case the car needed anything down the road.Image Credit: auto-mechanic.schoolscert.com

You got into the car, started your engine, while everyone was buckling up their seat belts, and with a big smile drove onto the road.

As you were heading towards the highway, Terry took out her map and gave you the needed directions for the first 2 hour drive. As much as you have faith in GPS (and that is what you told Terry), she laughed and made a clear point that some of the routes you will be driving have a weak signal which can stop the GPS from tracking the progress. In addition, Terry was smart enough to re-route some roads to shrink the driving time which the GPS would not have done (since those roads were not found on the digital map).Image Credit: www.nsmbl.nl
Hours passed on the road driving until night started falling, and everyone decided, including yourself, to stop to have some rest and continue your drive the next day. You stopped at a hotel for the night, and before you know it, Matt jumped out of the car and headed towards the reception to book the rooms.Image Credit: squarmilner.com

As you all waited outside, you saw Matt still arguing at the front desk with the clerk for a whole 10 minutes, or at least you thought. Then Matt, came out with a big smile on his face with 2 keys, one for the ladies and the other for the guys. Matt was excited to have negotiated a tough deal with the clerk on getting 2 rooms, adding free premium cable TV, mini-bar at half price, and “all you can eat” breakfast buffet in the morning, all for a very affordable price that you could never dream off.
Matt was thrilled to have practiced his sales and negotiation skills outside work, and in his words “Guess what? It always works like a charm!”.
The second morning, you were all set to leave to head towards our destination, when Linda brought to our attention a mini-plan she has been working the night before.
On our road, in the next town was a music festival that gets organized once a year, and were lucky to pass by that town (as drawn by our map reader Terry); So Linda already made a purchase of 5 tickets for us to attend the yearly festival and organized all of you into smaller teams to participate in the late night games so that you get to enjoy a full night of fun and excitement. Image Credit: media.giphy.com

Interested to know what happened next?
Well, long story short, You and your friends enjoyed one of the best road trips of your life. So much excitement, fun, sharing, caring, and adventure along the way.

After 3 days of amazing memories you went back to the office, took a minute looking at all the pictures you got from the road trip and you figured it all out….
Life experiences are not that far from business ones, especially when it comes to teams and leading them onto a successful journey.

let us break it down you and I, based on the story above…(& what we all can learn from such an experience)

> The road trip is a project.

> The members on the road trip are your team.

> Point A is where you stand now.

> Point B is where you want to go all together (towards a successful end).

> The preparation done by yourself alone is the mission and the vision of the team.

> The brainstorming session is on how to decide all together the best way to fulfill the project, as one team.

> As a leader of the project, knowing each person’s favorite coffee means you took the time to know well your team, their passion, their love in life, what makes them work, what makes them quite.

> Each person’s participation is In the right place, the mechanic, the map reader, the negotiator, & the thinker; that shows that your crew has the right person in the right position at the right time.

> Each person’s input is valuable. Every member had something to contribute to the team and the success of a road trip without the your intervention as a “boss”.

> Your trust in the members to take on their tasks in a professional manner, in a way that contributes to the success, shows member empowerment within your team.

> You taking initiative to start a road trip shows that you lead by example, an idea given to your team to do the same.

> You taking the driver’s seat mean you are leading in front of your team.

Now take a minute and reflect on the (bold+Italic+Underlined) words above…
1) How many words fall under your team?
2) What is missing from the above?
3) When will you start applying the missing elements?
4) Where is the best place to start?
5) Why are you still reading this article when you should have started with the ones above? (Just kidding.. please stay!)

Sometimes, life by itself is the best mentor we can get. Just take a look around, and maybe you will find all the answers you were searching for…

& in case not, think about “Coaching” as the way that can take you from Point A to Point B.

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