Originally posted Nov 15, 2012, these principles are equally effective at work, home or play.
Introducing a passenger changes the dynamics of the relationship between motorcycle and rider. It affects suspension, handling and the amount of luggage you can carry. Over and above that, you’ve created a team. Teams also form during group rides.
As soon as you have more than a solo rider on a motorcycle, interdependence plays an even greater role in creating a safe atmosphere that’s fun for everyone. Although it takes commitment, work and discipline to create and manage, the effort is worth it.
People come and go in your lives, joining you for different parts of your journey. Each has something to teach you and something to contribute. Your challenge is to consider the influence of others without losing focus on where you’re going.
9 Principles of Team Building
- Unity of Purpose. Members join the group because they want to share the destination, journey or the group culture. Essential as a baseline, clarifying values and establishing goals at the outset, can avert trouble down the road.
- Communication. Agree on how you’re going to convey messages within the group, whether it’s between operator and passenger or between operators on a group ride. Whether it’s hand signals or two-way communication devices, it’s imperative that you get your message across clearly and succinctly.
- Constructive Conflict. Selecting destinations, routes, departure times and stops are potential stumbling blocks. Disagreement is OK as long as it’s resolved before you set out. Having that conversation while underway is not advisable.
- Respect. Active listening and respecting the other person’s perspective gets things out in the open and clears potential misunderstandings before they become an issue. It presents an opportunity to clarify your perception and consider information you may not have thought of.
- Clear Goals. Make sure the goals for the ride are realistic. That includes deciding your ultimate destination, how for you’ll travel in a given time and communicating it to everyone on the team. The more members in the group, the more useful this is in keeping the peace.
- Active participation. The more people are engaged, the greater the likelihood for an effective team. The trip is more enjoyable for everyone when each person does their part, respects the mechanics of the group, is prepared and ready to depart on time and has completed any tasks they agreed to take on,
- Collaboration. When you’re in a group, not everyone gets their way every time. Having a strong leader who listens, is open to feedback and stays focused on the goals facilitates collaboration. The larger the group, the greater the skill required of the leader.
- Specific Roles. Whether you’re talking two people on one bike or a group ride, each person is unique and brings complimentary skills and roles to the team. Letting everyone work to their strengths builds a strong, cohesive team.
- Trust. Whether it’s the process, each other or yourself, trust is fundamental for the safety and enjoyment of everyone on the trip. Damage it and it can take a long time to rebuild. Sometimes the best solution, especially in the short-term, is to go it alone.
Team-building principles are as applicable on motorcycles as they are for creating effective teams in a recreational or work setting. Apply them wisely for a smooth, enjoyable experience.