High Performance Teams – Congratulations Mark Webber, Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull Racing after the Brazilian Formula 1 Grand Prix

It takes more than luck for a team to win a constructors championship, overall champion in Sebastian Vettel, and a Brazilian Grand Prix winner Mark Webber all in one go. In management we call it creating a high performance team, and there was also project management aplenty on show at Red Bull’s race HQ in Milton Keynes when I visited recently with the IoD.

Mark Webber lifting cup from Brazilian Grand Prix 2011
Mark Webber lifting cup from Brazilian Grand Prix 2011

I was lucky enough to visit Red Bull as part of the local IoD committee last month, by which time they had already effectively won the drivers and constructors championships. At the bottom of this blog is my original visit report for the local business press at the time, drawing out many of the elements that close neighbour Cranfield Management School would be proud to promote.

Red Bull - A winning team
Red Bull – A winning team

I was also lucky enough to work with local company Virtual Viewing, who created a lot of Red Bull’s on-line 3D and virtual reality content including an on-line interactive model of their world-beating RB7 car, and helped them to win SocITM’s annual ‘Supplier Excellence’ award.  Maybe winning is contagious?

Virtual Viewing MD Stuart Bailey at Red Bull
Virtual Viewing MD Stuart Bailey at Red Bull

I saw the Brazilian Grand Prix while in Sao Paulo in 2003, but cannot imagine the extra exitement if I had been watching my ‘home team’.  Maybe I will get a second chance though, as the Red Bull team and cars will be out in force doing public demos on the city streets on the 12th December with a full civic reception, only 2 miles from my house.

Article from the original IoD visit – ‘Leading a winning team

The IoD and the ACCA held their first joint event at The Royal Society’s recently refurbished Chicheley Hall near Milton Keynes on Tuesday 9th November.

The guest speaker for the dinner was the ever popular Steve Nevey, relationships manager from Red Bull Racing. When the Red Bull team step onto the winning podium for Formula 1 they may play the Austrian National anthem, but this is very much an MK business, having been based locally in Tilbrook in various guises since 1996 and now employing over 500 people.

Aside from giving us an insight into the glamorous world of Formula 1, Steve gave a perfect translation of what they do from a business perspective to become the best in the world. He related examples of; great leadership, developing a strategy to win and knowing how to flex that in the face of active competition, continuous innovation, partnering and outsourcing to gain competitive advantage, team-working where everyone knows their part and balancing the strengths and weaknesses of individuals, everyone knowing their role and practicing until they are as good as they can be, clear and unambiguous lines of communication, massive investment in Management Information systems, practical use of advanced management techniques such as critical path analyses and business process re-engineering. And finally, Steve told us that the only way to stay at the top is to have a healthy respect for your competition and use market intelligence to know ahead of time when you are at risk of being out-manoeuvred.

Truly a high performance team that any business would be proud of.