Organizational routines: 5 Things we can learn from F1 pitstops

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Formula 1 pitstops are incredible to watch. In around 2 seconds four tires on a racing car are released and the car has left the pitstop. It is a demonstration of efficiency – the routines optimized to service the car in the blink of an eye. The setting provides some important lessons for organizational routines:

Lesson 1: Practice, practice, practice

The first lesson that can be learned from looking at Formula 1 pitstops is the importance of practice. The reliability of the pitstops comes from practice – with each member of the team directly following defined procedures. Practice helps ensure that each stage is consistently performed.

Lesson 2: Defined roles

Another lesson is the importance of defined roles. The activity is broken down into defined areas, and each member of the team is responsible for a specific part. Turning around the car in around 2 seconds comes from each member of the team being focused on delivering their part of the overall process. 

Lesson 3: The whole team works together

Beyond each individual team member performing their task is that the whole group works well together. There is coordination between members to provide parts when required and release the car when the entire process is complete. 

Lesson 4: Gradual thinking of ways of refining the routines

Another lesson is a constant effort to improve the process. Small adjustments can help refine the process, leading to incremental improvements that allow teams to achieve slight advantages over one another. 

Lesson 5: Procedures to deal with mistakes

A final lesson is that there are procedures in place to deal with mistakes. While most pitstops occur without mistakes, there are times where not everything goes smoothly. Knowing how to handle mistakes means that small mistakes can be dealt with – minimizing the impact of inevitable mistakes during the overall process. Each mistake provides opportunities to learn and refine the overall process – helping to ensure that similar errors do not happen again.

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