The man in the yellow jersey

The Tour de France just ended this past Sunday.  I love watching the country side, the fans, the bikers and seeing all the RVs lined up along the route.  There is a nomading community that forms and follows the bikers along for the 23 days that the race takes place.

There are several parts of “the race” that I think give us all an inside look at the way a lot of organizations functions.  First there is the peloton. The fast definition of a peloton is, the main body of riders. This is analogous to your organization’s members.  They work together to accomplish the big goal(s), finishing a day’s stage and the ultimate goal of the race finish, but also against each other, as teams within the peloton are trying to accomplish what is best for their specific team, and/or team member.

There usually are one or two standout teams which determine the ebb and flow of the peloton each day.  The standout teams set the pace, and generally lead from the front.  These standout teams relate to the leaders within your organization.  How fast, how slow, how crazy the peloton reacts is governed by these leadership teams.

Each day the person that finishes with the best cumulative time gets to wear the yellow jersey.  This signifies to everyone that he is the leader of the race.  The person that stands on the platform at the end of the day in the yellow jersey is the leader.  Here’s what is ironic about the man in the yellow jersey.  He depends on his team to get him there.  The Tour de France is not an individual event.  It is a team sport.  No one wears the yellow jersey with his team getting him to the front of the pack.  The team protects him from attacks from others in the peloton.  The team creates a wind shield in front of him.  They let him ride on their draft, pulling him along, until the end when he comes dashing to the front, or near the front, but always so he can get on the platform and raise his hands, wearing the yellow jersey.

While the media focus cameras on the yellow jersey.  The people that know biking, know its a team sport, and without those on the team doing a lot of hard work, the man in the yellow jersey wouldn’t be there.

Many teams only last a season.  Some last for years. Those that endure are the ones with mututal respect between the yellow jersey leader, and those on the team.

What kind of leadership do we need?  One with mutual respect that lasts, or one that recognizes only the man in the yellow jersey?

There is always a team behind the man on the platform

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