In July of 2019, the Aston Martin's Red Bull Formula 1 Racing Team did something unbelievable! The pit crew changed all four tires in under two seconds! That's right; in less time than it takes to start your car, four tires were replaced, and the motor-rocket launched back into the race! It was not the first time four tires were exchanged in less than two minutes, but this was the fastest time ever! But wait. There's more!
This team's fantastic accomplishment isn't just that they beat the record for the fastest F1 pit stop that stood for three years (2016, Williams Mercedes, Felipe Massa – 1.92 seconds). They broke the record two more times in the following four months (1.88 seconds- German GP; 1.82 seconds- Brazilian GP). And with just a couple of months left in the 2020 season, the team holds ten of the fastest pit stop times in twelve races. This pit crew is obsessed with blink-of-an-eye pit stops!
If this pit crew is not the perfect example of a continuous improvement mindset, nothing else is. Watching the record-breaking videos are a study in precision processes and flawless execution (link below). But this accomplishment is more profound than what we see in the videos.
First, the team's mindset is the belief that they can go faster than before! And they will do everything in their power to make this happen. I do not know what the team is planning, but I would not be surprised to learn that the team is focused on a one-second pit-stop! They may not get there, but in doing so, they will be driving themselves to be faster and staying ahead of the competition!
And so it is with your organization. What is the mindset of your team? Is your organization always pursuing to be better than the competitors? Are your team members pushing themselves to be better at what they do? Are they taking a portion of their day to work on being better? Is there a focus on doing better at delivering products and services to their customers? I firmly believe they should! More importantly, as a leader, are you providing space for your team to improve what they do? I believe this is critical for all leaders to do!
Second, while the pit crew may appear to be a support function to the driver, the organization has realized the pit crew's performance directly impacts the driver winning or losing. The leadership could have stayed focus on the performance of the machine and its pilot. But in asking how to achieve their goal (to win every race by being the first to the finish line), they realized even their support team had to be faster than all other F1 racing teams. This mindset doesn't focus on just the team's central and prominent parts- the car and driver. This mindset focuses on every process involved in racing!
And so it is with your organization. Every team member, department, and division of the company is critical in being number one in your market. Even the "support teams" that are not directly involved in delivering products and services are essential to your company's success. Think about this-
How many process steps does it take your customer to order your products or services?
How long does it take for an invoice or purchase order to be issued?
How long does it take for supplies to be ordered and delivered?
A list like this can be endless, and no matter what the answers are, I suspect it is too much! Organizations must respond like the Red Bull team and pursue continuous improvement and strive to be the best in the business. Imagine if every team member in the organization considers themselves part of a world-class crew that is relentlessly pursuing excellence in what they do! It can change how you do business and launch your company into the fast lane with no one in front of you!
All three record-breaking pit stops in the 2019 season: https://youtu.be/b1f51TOXWik