Team Building: What Executives can Learn From Hot Cars

Hot cars never fail to grab attention, create “ooh” “ah” moments, and stop traffic. (I captured this shot outside the  One and Only Mirage Hotel in Dubai.)

The other day I was reflecting on the relationship between hot cars and team building. Especially when vehicles are expensive, owners ensure that luxury automobiles are washed and polished before taking them out for a spin. Have you ever seen a Lamborghini or a Ferrari caked in dirt? It just wouldn’t have the same impact.

3 Things Companies can Learn From Luxury Automobile Owners

1. Preventative Maintenance is important.

Even when a car is running well, luxury automobile owners also pay attention to preventative maintenance. When companies are doing really well, the tendency is to think:

“We’ve got our act together, there is nothing new we can learn from anybody else, let’s just celebrate our success.”

Little attention is paid to maintaining the culture that fueled the company’s success in the first place.

Luxury car owners would never treat their vehicles like that. A corporate environment that is neglected will eventually fall apart just as surely as a vehicle that is not maintained. To keep your corporate culture in tip-top shape like this Ferrari, don’t neglect preventative maintenance.

2. Timely tune-ups and Repairs

In the same way, when cars are in need of repairs or a tune-up, no luxury car owner ever says “We’ve cut our budget for car maintenance and repairs.” In fact, owners realize that if they pay attention to the knocks and pings, they can avoid much more expensive future repairs.

Yet, companies talk like that all the time. “We’re not doing well so we’ve cut our budget for consultants and team building.” That’s like saying “My car is running poorly but I’ve cut back on what I am spending on repairs” or “I’m sick so we aren’t going to spend on doctors.”

The road to failure is a long and complicated process.

Success can lead to brand arrogance and even giants like Nortel and Blackberry can fail. Telfer Nortel Study – uOttawa, the University of Ottawa’s Telfer School of Management research into the factors which resulted in the demise of  Nortel, concluded that the road to failure is a long and complicated process.

The Dangers of Brand Arrogance

The “not invented here” and “that’s not how we do it here” syndromes stifle innovation. Since there is nothing new to learn, real team building is shelved and corporate play days become the norm.

Organizations with toxic corporate cultures and an erosion in market share don’t deteriorate overnight. It is usually years of benign neglect that lead to the decline of companies that were once successful. Companies would also be wise to do preventative maintenance checks, take steps to proactively foster innovation, and catch performance issues early.

3. Pay Attention to the Oil and Engine Lights

No automobile owner would ignore the oil or engine lights. They mean that major problems are up ahead.


With regular checkpoints, organizations can spot threats to their success when they are on the horizon and engage in course correction. They can be proactive and harness the creative power of team members to generate solutions.

How Team Building Can Help

To tune-up a vehicle, mechanics use toolkits. Effective team building also introduces teams to tools that they can use on an on-going basis. Just as automobiles have warning systems like engine and oil lights, spending the time to design an early warning system for an organization is of tremendous value. Team building can assist companies with this process.

If companies have the budget, by all means, kick it off with a 3-day retreat. You can also use automobile related venues like luxury automobile dealerships. (Many have meeting rooms.)  A venue like Ferrari World or a race track would fit the theme nicely. Activities can consist of in-car challenges. Many luxury automobile companies offer them.

Team building doesn’t always have to involve an off-site. In fact, one of the most powerful team building strategies is for cross-functional teams to meet regularly to design strategies to address organizational challenges.

Here are some suggested approaches:


Contact us today and we’ll design and facilitate a customized tune-up for your team.

Team Building That Pays for Itself & Generates Bottom Line Results!


Visexecutaries: Seizing Opportunities in our Shifting Corporate Landscape

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