Friday, 3 May 2002

How Mercedes Out Prepared Ferrari And How You Can Do The Same To Your Competitors

How did Mercedes out prepare Ferrari? Many races are won weeks, months or even years before the green flag of the race. If a checkered flag is like closing a sale, the sales process starts a long time before your customer places an order. Can you be better prepared and increase your sales?

How Mercedes out prepared Ferrari

There was an interesting article in Autoweek this week; "Advantage Mercedes". The article talks about how Mercedes was simply better prepared and as a result won the 2014 Formula One Championship. With all the complex new rules in Formula One it is more important than ever to be on top of them as changes are far reaching and rigorous. The move by Mercedes to integrate the chassis and power train under one development roof worked out well. Without that, the Mercedes engineers might not have had the insight of placing the turbo in front of the engine rather than in the back. This proved to be a stroke of genius that went a long way to winning the 2014 Championship and illustrates how Mercedes out prepared Ferrari.

Racing Formula One and preparing for it might not be unlike running your business. Granted, it is probably a bit more exciting but think about it, it is actually very similar. What are the game changers in your industry?

Are you in stiff competition with very worthy adversaries that also employ very bright people? Do the years of development finally pay off when your product outperforms your competitor's? You see, Formula One is not unlike any of our businesses.

In racing for the US Championship I learned that the months of preparation back at the race shop is what allowed us to win 2nd place in the US Championship. It was not the days at the track, although they were also absolutely necessary. It was all the prep work that had been done on our cars in the months and weeks leading up to the race days. It is always interesting in looking at the starting grid. In the front 1/3 of the grid are the best teams that proved quickest in qualifying. The cars are spotless, the drivers and crew are all in clean uniforms, nothing is out of place or present without a clearly planned purpose. The second 1/3 of the grid has the teams that weren't quickest but something didn't allow them nearer the top. The cars are a little less prepared, not all is gleamingly clean and there typically are fewer people in various outfits milling about. The third 1/3 is a disaster. People are still scrambling to get things done, there are tools, parts, some hoods are open, etc. Race prep is still going on while they're on the starting grid!

Your business and your competitors can be gridded in the same way. Where is your business on the starting grid? When meeting customers are your sales people fully prepared and are your products or services completely ready for prime time? Selling something is not unlike winning a race. It is all the preparation before the sale that allows the sale to succeed.

With your success in mind,

Tuesday, 9 April 2002

A Simple Children's Game You Can Use For Training Adults

Many years ago, in what seems like a different life, I used to teach English to 5 year olds.

In doing this, I often used board games and card games which I generally made up myself, although they were often based on traditional or commercial games (this was back in the early 1970's, when such games were still common, before computers and PlayStations came along).

Since I moved into adult learning and development, I have found that a lot of these games are still really useful for teaching and reviewing information and concepts.

One such game is what's called Pelmanism. It's very simple but you can use it in lots of ways.

The basic idea is this - you take some cards with pictures or words on and you have two of each card. You shuffle the cards and place them face down on a table in rows. So, let's say you have 20 cards, you might place them in 5 rows of 4.

The first person to play picks up a card and turns it over, then picks up a second card and turns it over. If the cards are the same, the person keeps them and has another go. If they are not the same, the person turns them back over and someone else has a go. This continues until all the cards have been picked up and the person with the most cards wins.

Of course, the key to winning is to watch other people carefully and try to remember where certain cards were.

You can use this game in so many ways with adults.

Write (or get the learners to write) key learning points or concepts from the training on cards and use these for the game. It will help them to review and repeat the points.

Draw images you have used through the course and ask people to explain them as they pick each one up. Or, again, ask the learners to draw images which mean something to them and make their own cards to play with.

Have a mixture of images and words and ask people to match the image with the correct description.

For technical information, you could have some cards with words on and others with definitions which have to be matched.

Or have a question on one card and the answer on another.

Or you could even have a calculation on one card and the answer on another so people have to work out the calculation to find the matching card.
The great thing is, the game itself is so simple and easy to set up but you can make it quite complicated, if you want, by the way you pair the cards.

Where possible, get the learners to make their own cards, which makes it more interactive, gets them more engaged in the review process and help them to memorise the information even more.

It's a great, quick way to recap key points you have covered in the training.

Alan Matthews is the author of How To Design And Deliver Great Training and The Successful Presenter's Handbook, available from Amazon. You can get his free report, "8 Steps To Excellence - the 8 key habits that make top trainers and presenters stand out" from the website at You will also find lots of articles and videos to help you become an outstanding trainer or presenter.