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Business and the Tour de France

Those of you who know me know that when I am not in a suit and tie I will usually be wearing lycra. Now if that mental image has not put you off, and you are still reading, I will share a parallel with you I have noticed recently between the TdF and business.

Firstly and most importantly, number 1 wears yellow! So Intergen is the maillot jaune (yellow jersey), as they say in France.

Cycling, like business, is a team sport; if the team does not work together as one its leader cannot succeed. I think it would be too simplistic, using this analogy, to say that the leader of our cycling team is Tony (our MD); I think the leader is our BHAG (our “Big, Hairy, Audacious Goal” – that “Everyone, every day is touched positively by the things we do.”)

In both business and the TdF, each member of the team has a vital role to play. In cycling there are spinteurs, grimpeurs (hill climbers), roulers (strong on the flat and undulations). We have the Sales team, Project Managers, Practice Principals, Practice Leads and the various project delivery teams.

Then in the car following the cycle race is the Director Sportif (Leadership team), mechanics and soignors (Corporate and Managed Services and Marketing) who give direction, set strategy and help out in the background to get all the vital things done.

And, finally, there are the spectators. The TdF is played out in front of millions of fans every July for three weeks. We operate in front of millions too. In terms of applying our BHAG to what we do, our projects have a wide reach, and that’s globally, not just locally. We have numerous examples where our projects have added value to the local and global community. A recent example that springs to mind is Intergen’s work creating the Office 2010 Backstage website, entirely Silverlight-based, for Microsoft Corporation as part of their recent launch of Office 2010.

The biggest difference is that the TdF is the primary focus for many professional cyclists and teams each year but at Intergen every project that we do is Le Tour.

Posted by: Murray Newman, Chief Financial Officer | 28 July 2009


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