It’s that time again: the month of the Tour! For three weeks, many cyclists fans follow the participants closely, and we talk a lot about the contenders. Even if you don’t like cycling, you can learn a lot from the Tour. Every day, you watch men who fight really hard for victory, one time in the mass sprint, other time in a heavy mountain stretch. Team spirit, mentality and perseverance are beautiful elements that can be used in a start-up phase. I have experienced it twice, with the Moeke Spijkstra Cycling Club and with Tribes.
About 5 years ago we started cycling with about five men. We had the need for a club in our area, a perfect way for all those middle-aged Mamils (middle-aged men in lycra) to get fitter by movement. When we began with 5 men, we had one goal: we wanted to set up a big public cycling club. The Moeke Spijkstra Cycling Club now has more than 200 members. Three years ago, I started again, with my own Tribes, with the aim to inspire people and bring them back together.
These start-up phases almost ran parallel, but the two-year old cycling club goes a little further, and now I know that I can expect things from the cycling club later at Tribes. In the beginning, when you’re with a small group, you need fewer rules and short, direct lines in communication make sure that there’s also little communication needed. One whatsapp message or e-mail is enough to let everyone know what is happening. The bigger we became, the harder the communication did. But that’s the foundation, for both cycling club and company. In fact, communications is the foundation of everything. As we continued to grow with the Moeke Spijkstra Cycling Club, we had to switch to Telegram (the only service that offers groups of 100 people) to keep each other updated. It will not take long before we have to take this step with Tribes!
But after that, it’s time to get more structure. When you’re getting in the scale-up phase. Then you come up with a slightly more hierarchichal grouping, and so we have introduced our cycling club captains, who ensure safety during the rides. When we came in the same phase with Tribes, we oppointed Chief Taipas. Chiefs who are responsible for the offices in his/her city and supervise the other Chiefs in this city. As a result, creativity and spontaneity disappear, what we find so important! But what is really the foundation of this ‘problem’?
Change. There is nothing as difficult as change; because the success of the change is largely determined by the interaction and the behaviour of people. These are not standards, but human factors that affect your impact factor.
So what can we learn from the Tour de France in the coming weeks? Whether you are looking forward to it or not, you will have admiration for that cycling mentality. Everyone is individually prepared to sharpen their own performance and behavior, in order to improve their contribution to the team. They don’t stop before they have reached their goal, the victory. And! They talk to each other. Because guilty or not, Sagan immediately went to Cavendish to talk.