Tour de France 2014 – Agile Response is Key to Overcoming Obstacles

It was sad to watch as double Tour de France winner Alberto Contador was forced to pull out of the race last Monday. The Italian champion Vincenzo Nibali, witnessed it first hand: “It happened in a descent, the asphalt was not in good condition. He was behind me but then passed me and three seconds later he fell off in front of me. It was spectacular, we were around 60 kph” said Nibali, and added: “I was just behind and for a moment I thought my Tour could be over too.” Nibali’s agile response saved his race and led him straight to the yellow jersey.

In business, we often look at the sports world, as an example for planning, preparation, and high discipline conduct. Business coaches like to borrow terminology from sports coaches to drive a methodology of winning the game. Probably one of the key traits to borrow from sports is agile decision making. Contador’s sad story is an example of unexpected circumstances – poor pavement on a sharp decent. High focus and a rapid adjustment were necessary to overcome this hurdle. Unfortunately, Contador wasn’t agile enough.

Contador’s sports director Philippe Mauduit shared the team’s disappointment: “It’s a pity because everything had gone well since the beginning of the Tour. We had a plan and today’s race was unfolding exactly as we wanted. In a fraction of a second, it all fell apart, so we’re immensely sad.”

Business analytics solutions attempt to assist various levels of business professionals to make timely and well considered decisions. Tools help forming a plan, collecting data about the latest affairs, and thoroughly slicing and dicing it. However, a good plan is not enough. Only the high-end analytic solutions are agile enough to constantly take in changing circumstances, and quickly course correct the plan. As we learn from Tour de France, this is the only method that works.