In August, a group of seven SEI consultants will once again step up to the challenge and cycle 190 miles over 2 days across the state of Massachusetts. This event, The Pan Mass Challenge, raises money for life saving cancer research and treatment at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
While preparing for this event, scheduling challenges, logistical hurdles, and my personal preference to hit the road at 5 or 6 am results in me doing training rides alone. These solo rides can be exceptionally challenging as they range from 3-6 hours and span 30 miles or more, and I must push myself to overcome every uphill climb, strong headwind, flat tire, traffic, etc. However, it affords me the opportunity reflect on those whom I have personally lost to or have been impacted by cancer. I also reflect on the fact that I am very fortunate to have the opportunity to participate in this event and ride, train and share the experience with a team of colleagues.
It was not until last year’s PMC that I realized the positive impact that riding with a group and forming what the cycling world refers to as a peloton (the cycling versions of a paceline) can change the riding experience. A peloton is defined as “the main group or pack of riders that save energy by riding close (drafting) near other riders. The reduction in drag is dramatic: as much as 40% in the middle of a well-developed group.”
During a recent particularly challenging ride, I had a revelation. I started thinking about similarities in the work we do as consultants and the power of a peloton. At SEI, whether at our clients or doing work to build the business, we are never riding it alone. We are part of a pack of over 250 consultants that, although located across the country, are able to support each other seamlessly by forming a virtual peloton.
At any point in time a consultant or group of consultants may take their turn at the front of the pack leading a business development effort, pursing a recruit, or leading other initiatives. For a short while we may feel the full force of the headwinds as we push to lead the pack towards a new client or initiative. Then, just as in a peloton, we rely on those that are riding with us to bring their expertise to the forefront and to help the group reach the finish and accomplish the goal. Each victory takes a full team effort. Each consultant plays their own unique role. All of us are in it together.
When riding in a peloton, each rider serves a purpose. Each rider is peddling, each rider delivering, each rider participating. At SEI we all take turns taking the lead of the virtual peloton as we discover opportunities. Likewise each rider in our virtual peloton have unique background and experience that we are ready to showcase as we support other consultants as we all work together to grow the business.
SEI has provided me the opportunity not only to ride physically with a team in the Pan Mass Challenge, but it has provided me the opportunity to participate professionally in a peloton with some of the most talented and interesting people I have ever met. I know that I can accomplish my professional goals with SEI that I would never be able to reach if I was riding alone.