Judy Dobles, General Management Consulting YOUR TOUGHEST BUSINESS CHALLENGES SOLVED.

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  • Cycling and Leadership: 4 lessons from bicycling in the Finger Lakes

    I have just finished a marvelous week of bicycling in the Finger Lakes.  Camped with 8 friends at Taughannock Falls State Park and cycled 40 to 50 mile loop rides every day.  The leadership lessons found on vacation and in everyday life are abundant.  Being able to create metaphors and analogies from common experiences helps leaders communicate more effectively.

    [1] Find common ground:  This is an annual event for us so we all meet about 5 months before the trip and decide upon what we want to do.  This includes timing, location and length of rides.  By doing this we all have a common set of expectations.  In the workplace, common expectations helps a collection of individuals evolve into a high-performing team.

    [2] Play to and value everyone’s strengths:  Each of the riders/campers has a strength.  We play to each other’s strengths.  In this way, everyone is a full participant.  It also lightens the load of preparation since we all share in the work that needs to be done.  In the workplace, everyone needs to feel they are making a meaningful contribution.

    [3] Create detailed daily plans:  One of the riders is really good at creating cycling routes.  It involves ensuring that we stay off of heavily trafficked roads, do not have excessive elevation gains and have a convenient place to stop for lunch, even though we do make our sandwiches every morning.  Map sets and cue-sheets are then created for each rider.  This comes in handy when something unexpected happens, such as a significant detour due to a bridge being out.  Which in fact happen on the trip we just finished.   When working on a project it is also important to lay out the steps or map to be followed to get to your destination.

    [4] Recalibrate:  At the end of each day, we ask ourselves if there is anything we need to change to make the daily tours better.  Modifications are then made as needed.  This is also critical in the workplace.   Nothing can be planned to perfection ahead of time.  You need to create a decent plan and then get on with the work.  However, on a daily or weekly basis, monitor your progress and make course corrections if required.

    The skills of life and the skills of leadership are interchangeable.  Use your life stories to create leadership lessons that will resonate with you and your teams.


2 Responses to “Cycling and Leadership: 4 lessons from bicycling in the Finger Lakes”

  1. Laura Brooks said on

    Hi Judy! Sounds like a great week! Now you’ll probably leave me in the dust after your week of riding!!

  2. Hi Laura, although the rides definitely helped to increase my tempo, takes some time and effort to increase speed substantially. Lots of hill climbing.

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