Integration in the F1 environment is the process through which leadership combines the efforts of strong willed individuals to work cohesively towards common objectives.
The best team is able to bring together all of the many factors which create a winning performance and then repeat them time and time again to sustain a competitive advantage.
In any organisation management needs to connect and balance many different functional areas and team groupings to achieve the ultimate outcome.
In F1, everyone sees themselves as connected and involved in the omnipresent objective of performance improvement, and they all know that if one detail doesn't work then they fail as a team.
Everything has to be kept in balance. If a new aerodynamic innovation compromises an existing aspect of the car then those teams responsible for other component areas will need to make adjustments immediately.
Throughout each team, engineers, designers, mechanics and marketing managers must organise processes and inspire colleagues to accomplish complex tasks within tight timeframes. All of the organisational elements need to openly communicate and learn from each other - the common mantra is One Team.
Is one of your teams or functions out of balance with the others?
F1 teams typically display the application of the Toyota Way model which is built upon three key principles:
- Common Sense
- Consistent Learning
Three questions are always being asked:
- Where are we now?
- Where do we want to get to?
- How do we close that gap?
For example on the production line, everything is visualised in advance and broken down into things that people can relate to and add value to. There is a product focus rather than a process focus, supported by instant decision making.
"We have to keep that sense of belonging, that connection to the product no matter how big we get" - Ron Dennis, Former CEO at McLaren
Are your employees and teams able to add significant value to your product?
F1 teams work in close partnership with other organisations to fulfil their performance objectives. These partnerships develop for a number of reasons, for example:
- Ferrari & Shell
- Shell developing high performance fuels
- McLaren & Mercedes
- Mercedes providing engines
- Renault & ING
- ING providing financial support
The partnerships become fully integrated into the teams they support, and by engaging external organisations into the overall performance process they ensure that both parties are learning and stimulating each other to continually improve.
Is your organisation maximising the value of its' external partnerships?
Breaking Down Boundaries
Real performance gains come at the boundaries between various interfaces whether:
- Component Areas
- Different Functions
These performance improvements can be challenging to achieve and sustain but they do make the real difference in performance if all other areas are working effectively.
Great teams move their focus from building up particular specialist competence to integrating the whole system and ensuring it operates to the maximum.
Barriers between functional departments must be eliminated so that communications between and across them can be clear, constant and directed towards achieving their common goals.
Which barriers would you break down first in your organisation?
Above all else leadership in F1 has to take responsibility to ensure all of the work in separate parts of the organisation, perhaps in diverse locations, get integrated into the race car in time to race.
Formal structures have their place but it is the informal structures that allow communications and project leadership to carry the business forward when faced with tight deadlines.
The senior management role becomes a combination of maintaining clarity and problem-solving along the way. Successful leaders encourage transparency and 'placing the issue on the table'.
When a problem is highlighted, they will go and see it for themselves, stay focused on the real issues and deliver very rapid reactions.
'Managing exceptionally' sums it up. Great leaders in F1 deal with events and issues which may impact the process, rather than managing the process itself. This they leave to their empowered employees.
Are your leaders investing their time most effectively?
From INTEGRATION to INNOVATION - Key Principle #4
From INTEGRATION to FOCUS - Key Principle #1
From INTEGRATION to ALIGNMENT - Key Principle #2
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