April 5, 2017

Your Business is a Road Trip – Who Do You Want in Your Van?

Business is a road trip - who's on board your bus?Every April, I do a 200-mile relay race with 11 other people.

It’s a logistical challenge: run from Gettysburg to Washington, DC; 30 hours of continuous running; two vans with sweaty runners; lots of winding roads and bad convenience store food.

It’s great fun and exhausting at the same time.

At 3 a.m. (when I’m running in the dark somewhere in rural Maryland) I always ask myself, “Why am I doing this again?”

Then the sun comes up and I’m almost finished. I forget those doubts and my aching hamstrings.

Every business owner knows this feeling, even if they haven’t run a 200-mile race.

One of the most critical aspects of ensuring a successful race, happens before the first mile has even been run. It comes down to who you ask to join you – the 11 other people you will spend 30 hours with in a van.

It goes without saying you need team players, people who will pull together when it gets tough … because it will get tough.

You also select people with special skills and abilities – he can run up the mountain; she doesn’t need much sleep and will run strong in the middle of the night; she has a great sense of direction and will make sure we don’t get lost; he has a great sense of humor; and he keeps his cool under pressure. And the list goes on.

Sometimes you find one person with a few of these skills – that’s a real bonus. Again, for you organizational leaders, does this sound familiar?

Your organization, its strategy, stage and goals are like the 200-mile relay race, so:

Who do you want in your van?


Look at the team you’ve assembled. Chances are you already have a van full of people.

Determine what skills, experiences and personalities you have on your current team. At a minimum, is everyone a team player? Is everyone engaged in the trip? Is there trust among everyone in the van?

If you’re continuing to hold a seat for someone who keeps saying, “When are we getting there? I don’t want to sit in the middle!” and other pesky road-trip behaviors – ask yourself: Is it time to let them out at the next corner?

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