How Well Do You Play Your Role?

How Well Do You Play Your Role?

By Jon:

Outside of being a co-founder of Rogue Consulting Group, my part-time job is working as the Race Director for the Race Across America. This epic cycling event just reached its 30-year anniversary. It is a non-stop 3000-mile race from Oceanside, CA to Annapolis, MD where solo and team riders have two weeks to complete the course. – Think riding the Tour De France non-stop with no days off. It is an amazing test of endurance, determination, physical and mental strength and pure grit. I am continually inspired to see how these participants overcome hourly challenges and push though.

As amazing as the riders are, this blog entry is not about them. It is about their support crews…. Each rider or team is required to have a support crew following him or her at all times. These crews are made up of anywhere from 4 to 14 people in multiple vehicles. There is a saying in RAAM that “even the strongest rider/team can’t complete the race with a weak crew”. I have spent this past week watching what impact both a good and poor support crews have on their teams. Good crews are made up of people that all have specific roles but can do almost anything. The teams prepare and train for up to a year together so there is no confusion as to what needs to be done when. There are medics, nutrition experts, mechanics, massage therapists, drivers, cooks, navigators, media and even those whose main role is to be there for moral support. Most are just friends and family as well as those who just want to be part of something bigger than themself. All are volunteers. They have to take at least two weeks off from their jobs and don’t get paid a dime. Just like the riders, the crews have to endure sleep deprivation, cramped conditions, crappy food, and constant vigilance, as this is a very dangerous undertaking. Many have died (both riders and crew members) taking on RAAM.

What amazes me the most and how this blog applies to Rogue Consulting Group’s Leadership and Team Development ethos is seeing how each crew member on a successful team plays their role to perfection. They also devise a plan ahead of time that is very intricate (timing of nutrition intake, rest, communication etc.) and execute that plan to a T, never deviating. In close quarters, there is rarely pissing and moaning among the successful crews as they know that crew divisiveness directly impacts their riders and is a sure way to eliminate any hopes of completing the race. Successful crews are 100% committed to their tasks. Each crewmember not only knows their role backwards and forward, but also ensures contingency plans and backup supplies in the event of any unforeseen challenge that may arise.

Failure is commonplace in RAAM and most often this is due to crew failure, piss poor planning and execution.

Lessons learned from RAAM can be applied directly to the corporate environment. Simply put, ask yourself “How well am I playing my role”? Do you know your role forward and backwards? Are you 100% committed? How prepared are you for contingencies? Are you destroying team cohesiveness with your pissing and moaning? Take a moment and do a self-assessment to see if you are doing what it takes to be a successful “crew member” for your organization.

For some inspiration, follow the Race Across America live at and check out the crew stories in the media section. There are many cool daily recap video clips and write ups.

Don’t forget to share with your co-workers all of the amazing programs that Rogue Consulting Group offers that promote successful leadership and builds successful teams. Check us out at

Have a fantastic week!!

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