Supposedly the world’s largest annual sport event, competition is fierce for the rights to hold the start of the Tour de France.
This year Le Grand Depart took place in Yorkshire. By all accounts it was a runaway success. The Tour officials themselves saying that the bar has been set dauntingly high by the Northern English county for future starts.
Having lived once on the route through the Moors myself I thoroughly enjoyed the landscapes. Tailor-made for cinematic telly. And the crowd, in their millions, were indeed incredible.
I was intrigued to hear and see a great deal of the man who made it happen across the media during the weekend. Gary Verity sounds like a man born into just this kind of promotion. A compelling vision married to the at times discomforting bravado for which the People’s Republic of Yorkshiremen are renowned.
Just a couple of years back (6 June 2012 to be precise) I recall working in New York when the whole office walked over to the Hudson shoreline to see the final journey of one of the Space Shuttles. It was startling to see its barge accompanied by a small yacht which brazenly brandished a ‘visit Yorkshire’ logo.
Apparently the idea for hosting emerged (whilst shaving) in 2010. In May 2012 they were first visited by the organisers.
Much of Europe appears mad keen to start the cycle race.
Names bandied around for this year included Amsterdam, Antwerp, Utrecht, Berlin, Barcelona and Venice. As well as a legion of French towns. The runner-up possibly being Florence.
I heard Mr Verity asked numerous times just how he’d snared the grand prize. Only once did he deign to give a proper answer.
Christian Prudhomme, the organiser-in-chief, singled out his number one criteria for the award; “Passion”. He spoke of how the winner needed to have a real passion for all things cycling. His second thoughts mentioned the power of dramatic tv pictures in the form of glorious natural backdrops.
I noted how these mirrored the Yorkshire view. His number one reason given for victory he began by explaining it was like needing “to know the exam questions”.
To précis, they immersed themselves in…
…the 111-yr history of the event, its values, what drives the people running it, its dna, its soul.
They wanted to totally understand all aspects of what makes them tick.
His secondary point was to thoroughly know the organisational requirements. He set out to not only meet them, but exceed them where possible.
You can’t help but note how the views of buyer and seller are aligned here. They both put the passion above the technicals.
He also added a general observation.
A big fan of Sir Dave Brailsford (who isn’t?!), he cited his famed “aggregation of marginal gains” as a central force. He identified the elements of the bid everyone needed to master and suggested to each person involved they just needed to be “better” at their one element. If they did that, then the win would look after itself. Another example of process being the most important lens.
So three facets; emotions, specs and marginal gains.
Crucially, the emotions make the main difference.
Think about all those times you’ve obsessed about the specific requirements of a bid. The chances are, the more you lose sleep over them, the less likely you are to prevail. Never think you can compensate for lacking in the ‘passions’ department.
What are you doing to understand and align with ‘the dna, values, soul’ of your critical account?