What can the Red Arrows tell us about teamwork?

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The Red Arrows over Scarborough South Bay today

Today was Armed Forces Day in the UK.  The Red Arrows were performing over Liverpool to a royal audience, but then also came over to Scarborough where they did a 15 minute display over South Bay.  It promised to be a big day out on the beach!  Liverpool to Scarborough is less than 150 miles so it probably took them less than half an hour to travel from the west coast to the east coast.

It was a stunning display, and like the rest of the crowd I gazed in admiration at the dips and dives and coordinated moves.  Effective teamwork!

Obviously a team such as the Red Arrows practice, practice and practice again until their moves are second nature.  The Red Arrow team members not only need highly developed skills, but an implicit trust in their team members.  When you are hurtling towards another plane at a closing speed of hundreds of miles per hour you can’t be wondering whether the pilot coming towards you has remembered what they are meant to be doing.

So what can we learn from this that might help us in the organisations in which we work?  Some teams may have the luxury of being able to practice together, others have the reality of a changing membership –  some even work virtually.  Members of a surgical team in an operating theatre need to know their roles and play their part almost instinctively. In other teams trust can be built by creating an environment in which everyone can be honest with each other and can understand each other’s strengths and areas of weaknesses.  Is the answer an Away Day?  Or team building?  A trip to the pub on a Friday night?   More importantly, how can team leaders influence this process?

Thank you for taking the time to visit the website and read my blog.  All comments welcome!

And see you soon . . .