The 2010 Tour de France concluded yesterday. Lance Armstrong finished the race in 23rd overall position in what will be his final Tour. Not bad for a 38 year old man. After winning the tour 7 straight years from ’98 to ’05, and then finishing 3rd last year after a 3 year retirement, Lance stated that he’s disappointed with the result.
Life doesn’t always go exactly as planned. I’m sure Lance’s plan was to win the race. In both stages 3 and 8, adversity and setbacks occurred: crashes, mechanical problems, flat tires. The combination of these events doomed his chances for a podium finish.
So what do we do when events cause our plans to change? What did Lance Armstrong do when bad luck changed the course of his race? What did Forrest Gump do when faced with misfortune? What do you do when events and mishaps force you to change roles?
I’m guessing that after Lance experienced a run of bad luck that altered his vision as a leader, he changed his mindset from winning individually to working for the good of the team. What was the result? Lance’s team, RadioShack, won the overall team category. RadioShack’s top three individual riders were better than all the other team’s top three riders. Lance ended up on the podium, once again, as a member of a winning team.
Forrest Gump proved that he was a team player and could change roles as necessary for the betterment of the team. In the army, Forrest was initially a foot soldier. After being wounded (view this as a life-changing event or just pure bad luck), he switched roles and represented the Army by being a ping-pong player. He stepped up to his new role before it even became official U.S. Army business, and was ultimately assigned the duty of entertaining his fellow troops and even representing the USA in exhibitions against communist China. I can’t thing of an organization where individuals perform specific roles for the good of the entire team more consummately than the armed services. Group performance in the US Army is a matter of life and death.
Lance started this year’s Tour as a team leader. He switched roles and became a team helper. Forrest Gump changed roles on his team when he was serving in the U.S. Army. Are you willing to change roles on your team? Do you willingly do what needs to be done to help the team? Are you willing to keep your own personal goals in check for the benefit of the team?
Next Blog Title: How Gumption and Personal Responsibility Are Related
Next Blog Date: July 29, 2010