Archive for January 30, 2009

Extreme Preparation

Posted in No "I" in Team on January 30, 2009 by bethleasure

38Everyone is together and that’s what’s so important, so we are learning about each other, learning to work as a unit…We are trained in extreme situations, so we become a better team when we are faced with these situations. We know it’s going to be hard and we are prepared for it.”

                Bjarne Riis on training camp


Aah, January! The team gathers again by way of training camp. When Team CSC set the standard for its trio of training camps, others followed with camps that worked as much on building trust among team members as on fitness and preparation for racing. A trend has emerged in cycling used by military and corporate organizations for teambuilding and to develop leadership qualities, such as tenacity applicable in racing scenarios. From paintball to perilous snow journeys, group dynamics reorganize through dissonant circumstances that require each participant’s adaptive coping and problem-solving. When equilibrium is regained, a sense of competence and mastery is transferred, as well as greater understanding of one another’s abilities. In addition, personality testing tools can supplement a team’s knowledge of resilience, behavioral style, and core leadership 39preferences. Cohesive teams coordinate the diversity of its individuals into a complementary unit as part of developing unique team culture. Team culture is also influenced by sponsor-driven considerations, and camp is often the place for equipment distribution and testing new gizmos. There’s good old fashioned training but not always for fitness; sometimes camp is about group skills in scenarios relevant to racing. Camps can also be used for selection of rosters for impending events or determining roles and pecking order. Crafting our highly individual intense racer personalities into a compliant working unit requires care for the team’s structure, as well as for the concerns of each rider.


Prayer for Teambuilding/Training Camps

“Blessed are those who persevere under trial,

because when they have stood the test, they will receive the crown…” 40James 1:12


We are grateful for times and circumstances which teach us interdependence. We confess selfishness sometimes obstructs the power of team spirit. We ask for opportunities to come together for days of quality teamwork.


Ponder Am I hindering or helping my team by the force of my personality? Affirm I am myself and sensitive, modifying my choices for the common good. Watch for ways to serve uniquely.

38“Camps Bring Best Out of Riders—Even if It Hurts,” News Articles February 22, 2005


39One of my favorite tools for discussing how varying personalities can learn about and appreciate and utilize each other’s core strengths and therefore comprise a stronger group dynamic is found in Leading From Your Strengths, by John Trent, Rodney Cox, and Erik Tooker, published by Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2005.


I also like inventory tools, such as the Myers-Briggs personality test:


40Today’s New International Version © Copyright 2001, 2005 by International Bible Society