Ever since I was asked to join the Mendip comittee at the end of last year, it pretty quickly became aparent that the whole year was basically going to Pivot on this meeting. In the intervening months, which seem to have whistled by at a rate I wished my race car went at, it’s beenfacinating to learn just what is involved in putting a national level event on.
First, was something I kinda knew, but was astonished to see wwas the case for just about everybody. Initially, big tasks look utterly impossible to the outset. And like the proverbial bunny caught in the headlights, the perspective can freeze people on the spot. The only real way out of the paralysis is to make a start. Luckily, we had people who were well used to this phenomenon, and made the start happen.
The next thing that started to emerge, and became probably the biggest learning experience for me, was just how powerful the effect of a team of people with different talents and approaches is.
We found that we had an ace track designer, a wood worker, a handy man, a digger driver, a few flat out grafters, a computer guy, and the list goes on. The trick seems to be about two important behaviours. One is to realise who is good at what, and when you’re doing that activity, let them take the lead, and help them go in the direction they’re going. And if you can’t help, just get yourself and your ego out of the way. The other, is to ignore the screw ups. Sure it’s important to learn from mistakes, but individuals will do that all by themselves. No, the funamental thing as a group seems to be to to correct any issues arising from a mistake and just move on as soon as possible.
And what did I personally learn? Well, the value of a good project management tool. We used Monday.com . As things got more complex near the delivery date, the more not knowing who was doing what and when, was getting more stressful than actually doing the work for most of the comittee. I was really impressed at how the Monday board relieved a lot of that issue. The only thing I would do differently in future, is to get that going earlier in the process.
And the weekend itself? That was very satisfying. I was supposed to be just floating around doing odd jobs. As it panned out, I spent most of the weekend with James and Neale on the Scrutineering team. We basically measure the car’s weight (making the cars ultra light gives a competitive advantage, but requires expensive materials and design out of the reach of most if allowed to be taken to extremes), Size and Battery voltage (a safety measure, the lithium polymer batteries we use have a “nominal” voltage, where they can be safely used. But they can be charged beyond this voltage, potentially giving a competitive advantage, but at the risk of fire or explosion.) I’ll be honest, it’s the kind of repetitive task that I don’t do well with. But somebody has to do it, and if nothing else, I did get to chat with everybody which was a privilage.
In all, it was worth doing because a lot of people had a great weekend, the Mendip team demonstrated what we’re capable of, and the confidence and knowledge that I suspect will be needed to weather future challenges was gained. I’d do it all again…. but not until next year 🙂