Nascar Racing Teams

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  • Topic: Jeff Gordon, Leadership, Hendrick Motorsports
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  • Published : March 31, 2007
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Case #10
NASCAR'S Racing Teams
By
Pamela Jones

1.Evaluate Jeff Gordon's race team on dimensions covered in the text's discussion of characteristics of high-performance teams.

As stated in Organizational Behavior, Schermerhorn, Hunt, and Osborn (2005), "high-performance teams have strong core values that help guide their attitudes and behaviors in directions consistent with the team's purpose." Jeff Gordon and Ray Evernham bring these values to the team. Jeff with his strong family upbringing and marriage and Ray Evernham with his "strong opinions as to what it takes to consistently finish first: painstaking preparation, egoless teamwork, and thoroughly original strategizing-principles that apply to any high-performance organization."

Another characteristic of high-performance teams is the ability to emphasize collective efforts and not individual efforts. Evernham accomplished this, "I surround them with ideas about teamwork. I read every leadership book I can get my hands on. One thing that I took from my reading is the idea of a "circle of strength." When the Rainbow Warriors meet, we always put our chairs in a circle. That's a way of saying that we're stronger as a team than we are on our own." I believe this makes a big difference in the way teams perform, every single person has to believe they are needed and respected.

Jeff Gordon's website, http://www.jeffgordon.com/team/default.sps?itype=12219 &iCustom PageId=16622, comments on his high performance team, "Jeff's accumulation of an astonishing roster of victories year after year is part of an incredible team effort. From the long-distance transporter drivers who get the cars across the country for every race, to the office staff who manage critical business details, every team member is inspired with a spirit to win."

Schermerhorn, Hunt, and Osborn (2005), "members of high performance teams have the right mix of skills." "When Evernham assembled his Rainbow Warriors pit crew, none of them had Nextel/Winston Cup experience and none worked on the car in any other capacity." What each member has is expertise in one particular area. A good leader has the ability to organize each member's assets in a way that produces high-performance results for the team. Evernham states, "High-performance teams do not happen by chance; rather, they are the result of good recruiting and meticulous attention to learning every detail of the job."

Lastly, a high-performance team needs creativity. "Evernham believed that teams needed to experiment with new methods and processes. Evernham made use of every opportunity to learn something new. If the car was running well, Evernham would ask Gordon to find something wrong with it, "We always try to make the car perfect. But the car doesn't have to be perfect to win; it just has to be less imperfect than everyone else's car."" There creativity was also seen on the track. They always tried to use new and different strategies for each race, that way the competition couldn't rely on past performance.

2.Discuss Jeff Gordon's race team on dimensions covered in the text's discussion of methods to increase group cohesiveness.

Evernham puts a lot of effort into building cohesiveness within and around his team. "I think a lot about people, management, and psychology: specifically, how can I motivate my guys and make them gel as a team? I surround them with ideas about teamwork. I read every leadership book I can get my hands on."

Some of the team member's individual needs are met when the winnings and Evernham's earned monies are distributed among the team, this helps in keeping the motivation of the team high. Evernham states, "I wouldn't be in a position to earn that income if it weren't for the team. Everyone should feel as if his signature is on the finished product."

Schermerhorn, Hunt, and Osborn (2005), states "Cohesiveness tends to be high when group members are similar in age, attitudes,...
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