Thursday, December 13, 2012

Easy as Assembling a Bike

Today my work had its annual leadership “retreat”. 25 participants were asked to read The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lecioni. [Editorial note: Very good book. Information that would benefit most relationships in general].

After general discussion of the 5 dysfunctions, the participants were divided into 5 teams each assigned one of those dysfunctions. We were instructed to put the bike together and consider how our assigned dysfunction would or could hinder our success. I won’t go into those details here.
My group was comprised of 3 females and 1 male. I was nominated team leader so I suggested we remove things from the box and lay them out so we could see what we had. The male member of our group chose to read the directions. An irony not lost on anyone.

The handle bars presented our first challenge. The directions said use the appropriate tool. “What tool is that?” “The one that looks like it will fit here” (pointing to the part). We found the correct allen wrench and managed to get the handlebars on and even lined them up with the frame of the bike so the tire was straight. Very proud we were until someone pointed out the handlebars were on backwards. No problem we were good at this by now and fixed that pretty quickly.

Just when we thought we were done – a wise guy from another group came over and suggested we test the brakes. Sure enough they didn’t brake. It took a while but finally we managed to figure out where to make the adjustment. Let me just say that the alleged directions were no help whatsoever in this regard. And no, it wasn’t because we didn’t understand it. The directions simply didn’t address the issue.
We did have a part leftover and after a test ride where nothing fell off or apart we were ready to just toss it. Well, not before accusing one of the other groups of purposely adding an extra piece to our box just so we would be confused. Again, the instructions were no help. This part was not even pictured in the book. . We were rescued by another group who had the same part and managed to figure out where it went.  I’m still not sure what it’s for but it is now on the bike.

I was given the job of taking a test ride. Short as I am, I am not a kid so my knees were almost bumping my chin as I rode but the bike moved and stayed together. I did not fall off but my co-workers did admonish me for riding around without a helmet. I don’t understand all the fuss. There are no gophers in the office.

The five bikes are now put together and will be donated to City Team, Laurel House and one other location whose name escapes me at the moment. We did not contact these entities until this afternoon just in case there were major issues putting the bikes together. In fact, we had already asked Dave to be the backup assembler. He was prepared to come in tomorrow and fix our work. We determined that wasn’t necessary although someone suggested that we should probably buy the recipient’s helmets as well; partly because it’s a good idea but also because we are still a little worried about our product.

All in all it was a great excercise, supported great causes and we had fun doing it.

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