In 2019, the Red Bull Racing Squad pulled off the fastest F1 pitstop in history – 1.82 seconds. In less than two seconds, all four tyres on Max Verstappen’s car were changed. It’s no wonder that they’re called the ‘masters of the pit stop’.

The current F1 pitstop has been likened to a choreographed dance or a ballet – where each millisecond and millimetre counts. However, this isn’t an individual dancer that is trying to achieve the perfect 2-second routine. It’s a team of more than 20 people.

It’s not easy to get teams of this size, let alone any bigger, working effectively together to achieve a common ambitious goal. So how do they get it right?

Each team member is clear on what success looks like for both themselves and the team

In a highly contested Grand Prix, the time spent changing tyres and the success of the process can make a difference to the final placing of the driver. While technology and tools play a certain role, the F1 rules and regulations limit the amount of automation allowed. Humans are required to perform a number of roles, and therefore the success of the pitstop lies with the crew.

Once the timing of the pitstop has been decided, the goal is then to effectively execute the pitstop in the quickest amount of time to get the driver back out onto the track. The driver and each crew member are clear on this.

The driver and each crew member have their own role to play to execute this and often can only fulfill it when other team members have fulfilled their respective roles. This starts with the driver stopping at the right mark, and then the team jumps into action. Have a look at this video to see what the pitstop looks like in action – click here.

A team of this size is successful as there is complete clarity and alignment in terms of what is expected of each individual so that the dream of success as a team can be achieved.

This clarity helps to build the trust required amongst the team to dare to break the 2-second mark

This clarity of roles helped contribute to building a high-trust environment. In Greg McKeown’s book ‘Effortless’, he talks about how trust is built through a ‘High-Trust Agreement’. In a High-Trust Agreement, everyone understands the results the team wants to achieve, what roles everyone will play, what expectations and standards must be met, and how success will be evaluated and rewarded.

If Max Verstappen wasn’t convinced each crew member was clear of their roles, the definition of success, and the standards that they needed to meet, then he wouldn’t put foot out of the pitstop as soon as he got the green light in under 2 seconds.

“Without trust, we don’t truly collaborate; we merely coordinate or, at best, cooperate. It is trust that transforms a group of people into a team.”

Steven M.R. Covey

OKRs can create this clarity in business teams

Clarity is not about being detailed; it’s more about being specific. Creating clear goals removes ambiguity and enables alignment in expectations. Alignment in expectations allows teams to build trust, and row in the same direction to achieve record-breaking results. Setting clear OKRs is a great way to do this within teams, especially setting clear Key Results.

The US Navy has a saying – ‘Slow is smooth; smooth is fast’. We often see teams rush straight into ‘execution mode’, without spending the required time upfront to create clarity between team members. The results of this are significant – teams are misaligned, are not working effectively together, trust is lost and desired results not achieved. etc.

There is no doubt that the pitstop crew, along with the driver, spends plenty of time upfront clarifying goals, roles and expectations. We strongly believe that the return on the investment required upfront to create this clarity is significant – we see it all the time with clients. And who knows – spend the right time upfront and you could also achieve record-breaking results!

Get in touch if you’re ready to create the clarity your team needs to get them working together effectively.

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