The ‘bus’ analogy is a well known, sometimes over used concept when talking about Teams.
Indeed when great ideas are overused they can become branded as common knowledge and with that badge true understanding can so easily be lost.
So to give a fresh view on this tried and tested model here are seven questions to ask yourself and your team.
Where’s your bus going?
It’s not a magical mystery tour! Why would anybody want to get on your bus unless they know where it is going. Make it quite clear where the destination is and how you are going to get there. The route may be subject to slight detours based on the road conditions or by unforeseen obstacles in the way but the ultimate destination remains the same.
When are you going to get to the destination?
Knowing the destination allows you to plan the route and a time of arrival. The team that you choose to accompany and help you on the journey need to know these plans so that they can fully commit to the journey. Continue to give updates on the arrival time to take account of those obstacles in the road.
Why do you want to go there?
It is important for you to know why you want to go on the journey. It is not necessary for every individual to have the same reason. The important thing is that they have their own reason to get on your bus and they are not just coming along for a ride.
Where are the bus stops?
It’s OK for people to get off along the route. The journey may get too uncomfortable or they just like the look of where they are and let you know they want to get off at the next ‘bus stop’. The great thing is that when they get off the bus, at a mutually convenient time and place, there will be others who will want to get on and continue the rest of the journey with you.
But beware of anyone who wants to change the destination to where they want to go and see the bus as an easy mode of transport. Help them off, at the earliest bus stop, as they are taking up a valuable seat.
What are the rules on the bus?
Make sure there are no free seats on your bus. Every seat is valuable and commitment is the price of the ticket. Everyone must be engaged in getting to the final destination. So agree and set the rules of behaviour at the beginning. These are the terms on the back of the ticket and make sure everyone understands the implication before they board the bus.
Who is on the bus?
With everyone committed to reach the journey’s end then when something happens to slow you down or there is a major diversion everyone will want to keep the bus moving in the right direction. Ask for their help and you will amazed by the desire to keep the momentum going.
Beware! Do not allow people to hang onto the outside of your bus, on running boards or on the roof. These ‘hangers on’ just want a free ride. They are not prepared to pay the commitment fare and when the road gets bumpy and uncomfortable they will jump off or fall away. In the meantime they will cause a huge distraction.
Who drives the bus?
In the early days you, the business owner, may want to be the driver. However, it is also easy to be the conductor, bag handler, and mechanic as well. Resist the temptation or you will quickly get tired and easily lose your way and end up following a dead end.
Make sure all the roles and responsibilities of every seat are clear. Your seat should have a panoramic view so that you can see in all directions and that you can see and plan the route ahead. Seek help and feedback from the whole team as it’s in their interests to get to the destination as well.