Sometimes running a business can feel like being thrown into the middle of a race.
You fly around corners at full speed, fight hard to stay ahead of the competition, hundreds of different parts move in harmony together and, when the finish is reached, there’s a huge rush of adrenaline.
It turns out Formula 1 and business have more in common than first meets the eye.
Both involve engaging, motivating and supercharging your team, delivering a winning product, and getting an edge over your competition.
But what can business learn from Formula 1? And what can it teach us about high-performing teams and getting the best results?
To help answer this, Quinyx spoke to Mark Gallagher, Formula 1 expert and leading business analyst, as part of the WFM Show. For the past 20 years, Mark has spoken for companies about the business lessons and insights to be gained from Formula 1, including topics such as high-performance teamwork, digital transformation, change management, and innovation - drawing on his experience spent on the management boards of teams including Jordan Grand Prix and Red Bull Racing.
Here’s what we learnt:
1. Create an environment where people can be the best version of themselves
“The magic of Formula 1,” says Mark, “isn’t technology, it’s the people. It's the way that you employ a group of talented people, and you give each person the opportunity to be the best version of themselves, so that everyone who worked for that team is given the opportunity to be brilliant.”
The challenge for us as business and HR leaders is to create this kind of environment. Ask yourself what you do to help your employees be the best versions of themselves. Do you give them the opportunity to be brilliant? And, if you don’t, how can you do things differently to, ultimately, benefit your employees and your business?
2. Everyday is race day
In Formula 1, the focus from the public and fans is all on the race weekend but it’s the countless hours that go in behind the scenes, 365 days a year that determine how successful a team is.
“Everyday is a new race and we approach it with that mentality. Everyday we are pushing, pushing, pushing on the technology and the development. It’s using our environment to drive outcomes, because we are passionate about success and everyone is engaged in the relentless pursuit of it,” says Mark.
For high-performing teams, the lesson here is don’t sit back on success. Instead, learn what worked - and what didn’t - and approach each day like it’s a new race.
3. Communication is the most important aspect of leadership
As the old adage goes, the single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place. According to Mark, communication is the most important aspect of leadership and getting it right is vital.
“Communication is a key aspect of leadership,” he says. “Communication across the business is key so that no one feels like they're being left out, everyone is included in the journey and the way in which they collectively drive it forward.
“When you join a Formula 1 team you don't disappear down some big hole into your department or your division, you actually have this very unified communication around the organisation so that everyone knows where we are, how we're doing, what are the problems, and we meet the challenges in front of us.”
All communication styles are different and there’s so many tools at our disposal it can quickly become overwhelming. The best advice is to find what works for you and your team then be consistent with it.
These are just a few of the learnings we got from the session with Mark. For more insights, including why we need to listen to data and why if we hide from problems, we’ll end up making the same mistakes, access the full webinar here.
If you want to take the performance of your team to the next level, it’s a must watch!