Vive le tour! What le Tour de France can teach us about le potentiel de personnes
Well unless you have been tucked up in bed asleep for the last few weeks, you will certainly have heard about Le Tour de France making an appearance in the UK – and for all the team at IIP North of England, we were especially excited for le Grand Depart in Yorkshire!
At IIP North of England, we have an office based in Harrogate and so of course we got the fantastic opportunity to get involved in all of the excitement as our ‘home town’ was lucky enough to welcome the competition over two days – and wow, was it a two days!
Le Tour de France is the world’s largest annual sporting event, with a worldwide television audience of 3.5 billion people and it is broadcast in over 188 countries.
And if you did manage to catch any of the coverage of le Tour, there were a few things that will probably have stood out – and they got us thinking…
Chasing the yellow jersey: for le Tour, Yorkshire was asked to go yellow and you couldn’t really go far without coming across a yellow bike or two! The coveted yellow jersey was what all the riders were chasing, acknowledging them as the stage leader – and this got us pondering, what makes a good leader?
Last year we did a quick poll in the North of England to see what you thought made a good leader – and one attribute that really stood out was the ability to inspire.
And you can certainly say that the lead riders over the weekend were inspirational as they tackled the towns, cities and dales of Yorkshire – but what makes an inspirational leader for your organisation?
From a wide ranging review of previous studies, and their own research, the DTI and Chartered Management Institute identify six recurring features of inspirational leaders:
- They genuinely care
- They involve everybody
- They listen a lot
- They show lots of appreciation
- They ensure work is fun
And along with their people, they are deeply committed – passionate about the organisation and its work, and always looking for opportunities to improve. Who says traits found in sport don’t translate into real life?
Polka dotty: along the route, you may have also noticed a fair few polka dots – someone even painted their house spotty!
The red spotty jersey is awarded to the ‘King of the Mountains’, the title given to the best climber during the race. These are the riders that see the challenge of a steep hill and go for it, pushing through with the support of their team mates to get to the top and achieve their spotty goal.
Again, this got us thinking about the challenges that organisations face today and how with the support of its leaders, managers and team members they can push through a difficult set of circumstances.
We work with a number of organisations that have accessed the ideas, support and motivation of their people to help them get ‘up that hill’ and go on to thrive. Check out some of our case studies to find out more – Five Lamps in Stockton on Tees and Staying Put in Bradford are a couple of great examples of where involving and engaging with your people can make all the difference.
Teamwork: whatever rider or team you were routing for during le Tour, there was one key thing they all had in common and it was the teamwork at play.
Throughout the weekend, you couldn’t help but notice the way in which the teams engaged with each other – working to each others strengths, supporting each other when things got tough, constant communication and developing strategies to help the team achieve their goals during the race.
And when things went awry, they were there for each other too. When poor Mark Cavendish crashed just metres from the finish, his teammates stopped to help him and support him as he later crossed the line.
Teamwork is crucial if an organisation is to succeed and developing a great team means investing in their engagement. If your people are not engaged in their work or understand the role they play in the success of the wider organisation, it will be difficult for you to achieve your goals – and the potential for opportunities to be missed could be increased.
But where do you begin? Here are some top tips from Investors in People North of England to help you get started:
- Involve your people in developing your business strategy and build a clear and compelling vision, strategy and business plan. This can make all the difference in how engaged people are with what you are trying to achieve and also how motivated they are to help you achieve it.
- Leadership and management is crucial when it comes to employee engagement – support your leaders and managers to have the knowledge, skills and behaviours that will motivate and encourage employees across your organisation.
- How do your people know that they are doing a good job? Do they know what plans there are for the business and how they fit in? Make sure that communication is two-way, giving all your people the opportunity to feedback, raise concerns and offer ideas.
- Create a culture of openness and trust where employees are supported to make the contribution expected of them without being micro-managed. They will feel more empowered as a result and have more ownership of the work that they are undertaking, increasing motivation.
So even though le Tour has ‘departed’ us up here in Yorkshire, we look forward to enjoying its legacy and hopefully welcoming all the riders back again soon.
In the meantime, we will definitely be taking on board and sharing the lessons their visit can teach us about le potentiel de personnes!