By Jon Castelhano, CIO Advisor
July brings so many exciting events; FIFA World Cup Finals, RedBud National, and Le Tour de France are among my favorites this year. Each of these events brings many rich traditions and I enjoy them for a number of reasons. The Tour de France, however, is the event that amazes me for so many reasons. To think these athletes will cover over 2,200 miles, ride through the steep mountains passes in the Alps and Pyrenees, draw 3.5 billion television viewers annually and 12 million spectators along the route, it is not hard to understand why it is the world's largest annual sporting event. For the average person that isn't into cycling, the Tour may just seem like another person pedaling a bike around France, but for the enthusiast, it is the ultimate test of endurance and team work that takes place every July.
The Tour de France is a great example of teams working together for one common goal. Each team has one chosen leader on their 9-person squad that all other team riders (domestiques) will support. The leader may be going for the overall Tour win, a particular stage win, or in contention for one of the colored jerseys, each representing a different classification. Each rider on the team has strengths that compliment the leader and the overall team strategy. No matter what the goal is, the supporting riders on the team are servant in helping achieve the leader's success.
Every school district has a vision statement that defines its goals, creates an identity and shapes its culture. All parts of the organization work together to support the vision statement and make it a reality. Similar to the way a Tour team creates its vision for the team leader, a school district has a number of domestiques working together for the success of its students. If you follow the Tour closely, you can see how each team struggles with issues and the leader can not go solo as he or she needs the supporting cast. From the classroom teacher to the bus driver that transports students, to the technology staff that provides working devices and a solid network, every part of the team must work together in a school system in similar fashion.
The road to the Champs-Élysées is a commitment that requires all the pieces of a Tour team working together. When they ride the final stage on the last day, all the teams in the peloton are together, celebrating the end of their long journey. Accomplishing such an arduous task is gratifying when working alongside others, so think about the stages of the school year as your Tour and pedal on!