An Act Too Important

While perusing the news yesterday I came across an intriguing article about the Tour de France entitled, Tensions on the Tour. The article documents possible tension that exists between Lance Armstrong and Alberto Contador. They are both riders on the Astana team, and there should be a clear leader of the team. However, with both of them vying for the yellow jersey (win), their possible tension is creating a distraction for the team-according to the article.

Contador makes a very telling statement when he says, "The Tour is a tiring race and you can't waste energy on things that don't concern the race." He recognizes the larger goal, but only time will show if he and Armstrong adhere to a team mentality or pursue their individual goals.

The article started me thinking about how often there is the "official team goal" but in reality the individuals on the team have a goal that could undermine the success of the team. Research has consistently shown that managers make decisions based on ego as much as 66% of the time.

And the challenge isn't just limited to corporate or work teams. Families often have increased stress levels because one of the "team" members has an agenda that is in conflict with the family.

How do we rectify these situations? One solution is to be the "Animal Trainer." No, not by threatening the individual(s) in question, but by looking for ways to build greater trust with the individual. When a high degree of trust is present, individuals tend to be more open to talk about concerns or issues. They are more likely to look for ways to integrate the team goals into their own individual pursuits. Fail to build that trust, and you have two or more individuals who just don't know how to best work with each other-like Armstrong and Contador. And just like the Tour de France, we all have things going on that require every ounce of energy and focus we can provide them if we are to be successful.