Formula One is the pinnacle of worldwide motorsport having a television audience beaten only by the World Cup and the Olympics, and they only happen every four years not 20 times a year.
But what can high octane sport teach us about employee engagement?
To most the focus of Formula One is the driver with many having heard of the likes of Lewis Hamilton, the current champion, but also further back names like Schumacher, Senna, Prost, Stewart and Clark. Unless you are a die-hard fan it is less likely that you will have heard of names like Newey, Symonds, Allison, Arrivabene and many, many others that are employed by the teams.
WilliamsF1 employees about 600 people at its Oxfordshire base and each and every one of these is focused on the same goal of ensuring that their drivers cross the finishing line first. Despite being one of the most successful teams in the history of the sport the glory days were long behind them with the team finishing a lowly 9th (out of 10) in 2013.
In 2014, however, the team bounced back and came 3rd. A result that not only restored some pride but also boosted the financial coffers of the team but what brought about such a miraculous change?
According to Technical Director Pat Symonds it is all about the people:
“The good news for Williams is the quality of the people. They knew how to do it, just not what they should be doing. This has made my job easy. We have not flooded the company with highly paid celebrity designers, but fixed weaknesses here and there or strengthened some departments. We have managed to get more from the people who were already here. It was incredible. When I arrived, there was no confidence in the team. That is why they had all the panic reactions.”
What Symonds modestly neglects to mention is that it is his orchestration of these people that has brought about this change.
“When I arrived at Williams, I spent the first period of time just watching. I could feel the panic in this team. They felt that everything would work out fine if they could screw enough new parts onto the car. Which is obviously not the case.”
Symonds has brought to the team focus and organisation along with an ordered process that all can understand and work towards. This methodical approach has restored pride in the 600 workers and the performance on the track.
Sometimes it is not about the individuals that are within your organisation but how they interact. Have you taken the time to step back and take a look how your people work together and whether it is working smoothly?
If you can achieve that you might get our business racing just like Williams.