Team Sky Looks to the Stars (1)
January, 29 2013 / BY SUPERTEAMS

Team Sky has put out a mission statement - to become one of the greatest and most loved sports teams in the world.

In order to become a true superteam however, amongst other things, it takes a great leader. Luckily for Team Sky, in Sir Dave Brailsford, it might just have one.

Sir Dave Brailsford has masterminded the meteoric rise of British cycling’s status over the past decade.

But he is not finished yet.

The Daily Telegraph's Ian Chadband hears from Sir Dave Brailsford about Team Sky’s strategy for world domination:

“We want to be the world’s most admired sports team. If you’re going to be audacious, get an audacious goal. Reach for the stars, you might get to the moon.” 

While some may see Brailsford's rhetoric as lofty and misguided chutzpah, his track record may prove otherwise. His unerring success over the past decade could prove this mission statement to be more a realistic and calculated vision for the future.

Brailsford's 'Midas touch' has produced 18 gold medals for the British cycling teams of the past three Olympic games.

Having also delivered a one-two in the 2012 Tour de France, with Bradley Wiggins taking the revered yellow jersey and Chris Froome coming in as runner-up, Team Sky’s aim to capture the world’s hearts reveals the incessant ambition embedded in Brailsford’s leadership style.

So what are Dave Brailsford's chances of leading Team Sky to the stars? 

Team Talk

There are three core responsibilities for any successful team leader.

1. Forge a common purpose and deliver ambitious but achievable team objectives.

The forging of a common purpose within Team Sky has been natural and progressive - the stronger they have become, the more bound they are by the collective objective of being the best.

As for the level of ambition in Team Sky’s objectives, this is immediately apparent in Brailsford's rhetoric. Not happy with simply equalling the status of sports teams such as Barcelona or McLaren, they want to supersede them.

The achievability of these objectives lies within the development of the team itself.

2. Build a cohesive and effective team.

In order to deliver on objectives then, a leader must build an effective team capable of success.

One of Brailsford’s central philosophies is the aggregation of marginal gains. He believes that even the smallest enhancement of variables within the team's preparation and execution, when multiplied, can make the difference between success and failure.

This meticulous attention to detail, from the shape of a helmet to the softness of a pillow, has given Brailsford’s cycling teams the edge over the past decade. 

3. Manage and develop team member performance.

Brailsford must be able to individually develop team consituents alongside creating cohesion amongst them.

Team Sky’s power meters provide an example of individual monitoring. They measure team members’ training and racing statistics, providing data that enables the team to plot the perfect race for each individual for each specific competition.

Individualised information like this helped Tim Kerrison, the head of performance support, identify that Wiggins’ explosive power needed serious work, strongly contradicting assumptions made due to his track background.

The individual attention to detail highlights the rationale behind the well known adage - a chain is only as strong as its weakest link.

Keep it clean

Alongside the significant challenges of creating a winning team, Brailsford's Team Sky will also undoubtedly have to fight off the increasing scepticism surrounding cycling since Lance Armstrong's scandal has thrown the sport into disrepute.

It is not just dominating the cycling world that will launch Team Sky to the stars; they will also have to convince the rest of the world they have not used any rocket fuel to get there.

Read Ian Chadband's article: Sir Dave Brailsford hopes Team Sky and Bradley Wiggins can become more loved than Barcelona or McLaren

Written by Sam Ramsden

See Khoi Tu speak at the RSA or follow his story on Twitter @buildsuperteams

photo credit: Petit Brun via photopin cc



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