IMD International

How to lead a winning team – tips from a formula 1 COO

Thomas Mayer, COO for Lotus F1, will be a guest speaker at OWP


June 11, 2015

This year's edition of Orchestrating Winning Performance (OWP), IMD's week-long, customizable program to reinvigorate business leaders, is coming up this 21-26 June 2015 in Lausanne.

We caught up with Thomas Mayer, Chief Operations Officer with the Lotus Formula 1 racing team. Mayer is an IMD alumnus who has attended OWP, High Performance Leadership, Building on Talent and other programs. He will give a keynote speech at OWP on Monday June 22 at 18:00.

IMD: What keeps the Lotus Formula 1 team motivated to continuously strive for success?

Thomas Mayer: We have a passion for winning and high-performance. Competition is in our DNA. You can feel it in the air around us.

IMD: What are some of your tips for managing a high-performance team?

Thomas Mayer:
I believe open communication is extremely important in order to get everyone aligned and to have the same goals. It is crucial to hire highly competent people. And it helps that Lotus F1 is like a small family even though there are a few hundred of us.

IMD: How does a team the size of yours compete in such a fast-paced, high-pressure environment?

Thomas Mayer: We have a very flat structure with very little hierarchy. I also believe in a lean decision-making process.

IMD: How do you maintain high-performance over time?

Thomas Mayer:
We have a very immediate reward system because we compete every two weeks. Everyone from the blue collar to the white collar workers on the team know that they contribute to our success and we all celebrate our wins together.

The next edition of IMD's Orchestrating Winning Performance (OWP) takes place in Lausanne on 21-26 June 2015.

Other keynote speakers at OWP include family business leaders Poalo Zegna and Marcelo Odebrecht, International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach, Formula 1 team leader Thomas Mayer, infectious disease expert William A. Fischer III, and IMD World Competitiveness Center Director, Arturo Bris.

Find out more about Orchestrating Winning Performance (OWP).

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