Call it the Wiggins effect, but there are an awful lot of us taking to our bikes these days – and we don’t just share the love of lycra and glow of fresh air in common!
Among those I cycle with or know, there’s a great deal of strategists, advisors, leaders and innovators.
In fact, take a typical peleton buzzing by you on a Sunday morning, and you can be sure you’ve just fleetingly witnessed a few entrepreneurs, creators and potential pioneers all pushing the boundaries of their aerobic capacity.
What’s really interesting about cycling is that, much like in business, until you’ve ‘really done it’ you’re a mere judgmental observer who can so easily find fault and criticism where it may well be unwarranted.
Drive your car your whole life, and to you, overtaking is about providing a minimal gap to skip by a biker without causing collateral damage.
Become a biker, and even back behind the wheel of your motor, your roadworthy senses are heightened and you’re suddenly navigating your passing with a great deal more empathy and conviction.
Here’s just some of the ways in which cyclists make for great business people….
They know about pace
Anyone who has ever wanted to start a business or take over the helm, has probably suffered the curse of being like a coiled spring desperate for action. Pace and timing make all the difference in starting and building a business – something those lycra clad cyclists know only too well at the start of a 60k ride.
They get team-work
There’s a reason cyclists tend to train in packs at the weekend (and not just to wind up drivers….). Team activity is a proven motivator and great for psychological and motivational reinforcement. In sport, cyclists get that as much as a team of footballers or cricketers might.
In the workplace, conscious attention to team-manship can reap huge benefits and see a greater chance of brand success in significant times.
But they can do solo too
As above, team is great. But solo is too. Cyclists also know about solitary. They know about keeping up their own pace on a turbo-trainer in the depths of winter, or heading out for a mind-clearing spin when fellow bikers are otherwise detained.
Innovators and entrepreneurs not only have the ability to ‘pack work’ but to work in appropriate isolation and in solitary creative thought. The combination is what achieves great results.
They know about external factors
Ask a cyclist what’s going on around them and you can be sure they’ll be far more observant than the average motorist. They know about how the weather is affecting their ride, about the implications of scatty overtaking, about road furniture, about the position and impact of the fellow cyclists to the front and the rear.
People with great observation and great sense of how other factors affect an activity make for superb business innovators and leaders.
They spot the potential pitfalls (or should that be potholes?) as much as they see the opportunity to steer a different but perhaps more successful course to victory.
They fall, they hurt, they get back up…
Well, I couldn’t leave this one out.
As the woman who has fallen off a bike (and yes, many times stationary while wearing clips) more than she’d like, I get that cycling does mean falls and crashes and disappointments – no matter how good you are.
I’ve hated the crashes and disappointments in business, but it’s too easy to spend time and energy nursing the bruises rather than getting right back into the saddle.
Cyclists know that when you’re 50 miles from home and you’ve just crashed and your blood sugar is through the floor, it’s you who is going to get yourself home for that hot bath and recuperation.
In business, that resilience is worth a lot. We don’t just want entrepreneurs who succeed first time, we want those who crash and stumble – but get straight back to it and improve with every subsequent journey!