Lessons for business from Formula One
Behind the glamour, the sport is estimated to be worth annually over $4billion and it continues to grow.
To explore the F1 phenomenon and to see what lessons can be learned from it, Cass Business School invited leading industry analysts for a panel discussion 'Competing in turbulent environments: lessons from F1.'
A packed auditorium enjoyed insights from panellists:
- James Allen - BBC Radio 5 F1 commentator and Financial Times F1 correspondent
- Gary Anderson - former BBC F1 technical analyst, now Autosport journalist
- Nick Fry - former CEO Mercedes Grand Prix (F1)
- Dr Amanda Goodall - Senior Lecturer in Management, Cass Business School
- Mark Jenkins - Professor of Business Strategy, Cranfield School of Management
- Joe Saward - F1 journalist and blogger
- Dr Paolo Aversa - Marie Curie Fellow of Strategy, Cass Business School, Event chair
The group highlighted the following lessons for business:
- Clear objectives: in F1 this is easy - win races. Businesses need to ensure they keep firmly focused on what they are setting out to achieve
- Total clarity of purpose. Knowing where every penny is spent helps achieve business objectives.
- Change management: F1 teams are some of the most agile business units in operation. They are constantly looking for ways to develop and become better at what they do
- Speed of reaction: if a team doesn't know how to do something, or something is wrong, they find out how to do it or change it - often in the two weeks in between races
- Get the best people. Understanding data, high investments and strategy alone are not sufficient
- Choose the best leaders with the right experience. Research demonstrates the best leaders have a deep knowledge of the core business. In F1, team principles who were previously drivers had a 16% higher chance of their team winning or scoring a podium place
- Money helps teams to win, but often does not make the success durable. To make the success sustainable, constant incremental improvements help more than occasional big money injections
- Diversify the business model. For example, F1 technology has been adapted to stream data from ambulances to hospitals so doctors can begin a diagnosis whilst a patient is still en route.
The panellists sparked a lively twitter debate, the highlights of which can be found on Storify.