Can you ride tandem?

Efficient Thinking Solutions | Can you ride tandem?

What has riding a tandem got to do with business? It’s all about getting people to work together in coherent teams. Here’s our own tandem story:

Many years ago, my new husband and I went out for a ride on our bikes.  He had lots of experience of cycling. Me? I had none! We’d literally just bought my bike the week before.

So, we set off. He pedalled comfortably into the distance whilst I floundered somewhere a long way behind. Fortunately, he waited for me at the top of every hill – some of which I had to walk up! He became frustrated as he was getting cold whilst I was very hot putting a lot of effort in trying to catch him.  From this experience, we decided to hire a tandem.

Then the scraps started! He was nearly killing himself trying to pedal a combined weight of 28st (then). I kept saying that I couldn’t pedal as the pedals were going from under me leaving me nothing to push against. He was just pedalling too hard for me to keep contribute.

Fortunately, help was at hand! We met a man who ran tandem familiarisation sessions and holidays. The sessions were friendly. Everyone was chatting over a cuppa and adding in their own experiences and solutions. One time, he told the group that it was always more beneficial to pedal to the level of the weaker person.  That way, the weaker person would be able to contribute and in time, build up strength and fitness.

Success! We tried it and it worked a dream! We had discovered better ways of working and we were off really enjoying ourselves, chatting away, talking about how we could further improve what we were doing.  We’d enjoyed it so much that we bought our own tandem.  We cycled up and down the country, in France, in fact anywhere we could.  One time in Devon, we were pedalling at 52 mph! It was amazing!

Not only had we learned from outside help, we developed a much closer bond and continued to develop our (cycling) skills together for the better good of our cycling journeys (and our marriage!)

So how it this relevant to my business, you might ask?

Imagine, you’re the boss of your own company….

  • You make all the decisions
  • You’re constantly fire-fighting
  • Your staff make so many mistakes
  • You don’t understand why can’t they get things right?
  • It’s too difficult

You may get all the glory when something goes well but you also get all the pain when something goes horribly wrong.

It’s tough at the top, isn’t it?

Now, imagine a completely different scenario, you’ve got a team of people who are:

☺connected with their jobs

☺working together in harmony

☺resolving potential problems before something goes wrong

☺teaching each other when experience is lacking in one of their colleagues

☺looking for solutions to problems as a matter of course

☺chatting with each other over a cuppa about what’s happening around them

☺better results for you, less fire-fighting

☺you can work on your business rather than in your business

This sounds so much better, doesn’t it?

Despite what many people think, no one person has all the right answers.  Knowledge can come from the different perspectives of lots of people – you just never know who will come up with a new idea and what the idea will spark in others. One way you can create this open environment is to get people around a table with a cuppa to chat about what’s happening, not just the bad stuff but the good stuff too. You’ll be surprised what comes out! Problems you weren’t aware of and ideas of how to make things even better.

Don’t expect miracles immediately, start small as small changes build the best outcomes as it takes time for people to trust new situations and to become engaged.  They want to understand that it’s OK to have an idea that might not work or be accepted.

Stuck on how to implement this new way of thinking? If you’d like help to improve your leadership, enable your staff to engage and leading to happier staff and customers, then call us in confidence on 01905 380008 or add your contact details here and we’ll call you.


The title of this article comes from a 1971 ad for PG Tips – here’s the clip of the video for those of you who remember it 😊(or those who don’t)