‘Flat Tyre’…‘Punctured’ Team

John and his entire team were totally elated by the news! From a multitude of 11 teams in the organisation that had competed, theirs was the only one which got
30 Apr 2016 08:00
‘Flat Tyre’…‘Punctured’ Team

John and his entire team were totally elated by the news! From a multitude of 11 teams in the organisation that had competed, theirs was the only one which got selected.

This was based upon their overall performance and presentation and therefore were invited to participate in the international conference and training for future Team Leaders.

The venue for that conference was just three hours away from their city.

Hence the team decided to drive to the venue the same morning instead of the previous evening.

Ronil, one of the team members had a big sedan car and hence, it was decided to travel in his car.

On the day of the conference, Ronil picked everyone up from their homes.

It was 5am and they had to reach the venue by 9am sharp.

In the mail sent to them, the organisers had clearly stated about the importance of being at least 15 minutes before the inauguration of the conference.

All the four of them, John, James, Praneel and Ronil (at the steering) excitedly began their journey towards the venue.


The unexpected incident

It was just around an hour from the time they had started their journey that they heard a sound.

It was a sound that came from the outside of the car.

Ronil, who was driving felt suspicious and slowly brought the car to a halt.

As he got out of the car to check, Ronil exclaiming dejectedly: “Oh my God!!!”

Upon hearing this, they too quickly got out of the car.

They all stood there looking at a completely flat tyre.

Before anyone could do anything, Praneel looked irritatingly at Ronil and angrily asked him: “What is this Ronil?

“Couldn’t you have at least checked the tyres before our journey!!!

“You really are the most foolish and stupid person I have met.”

Praneel was extremely upset. To add to this even, John stepped in and in a more polite manner asked for an explanation from Ronil.

He said: “Ron, this is not done brother. We are going to get delayed because of this.

“You should have been more alert and checked your tyres.”

Ronil could not take it anymore. He was feeling quite humiliated by the aggressive manner in which his own team members were dealing with him.

He being the senior most in age felt insulted and he now began aggressively responding to them.

“You seem to be the most perfect ones is it,” he asked them!

“Even if I had forgotten to check the tyres, you could have re-checked with me about it in the morning,” he said.

“And for your information, I had just sent my car for servicing the day before yesterday and all the tyres have been replaced with new ones.

“You can check it if you don’t believe me. So please don’t yell and shout at me.

“There are sharp stones or even nails on the roads and that too could have caused this!!” Ronil responded.

The heated argument went on for another 20 minutes as no one was ready to accept the fault.

In fact no one knew as to who really was at fault.

But now it all had turned into some sort of an EGO issue.

The junior most member of the team, James stood there looking at not just the flat tyre but a punctured team.

He mustered some courage to address the arguing team members: “John Sir, instead of fighting here, can we just replace the flat tyre with the ‘replacement tyre’ from the car.”

“Sir, we have to reach the venue 15 minutes before the conference!!!”

Hearing this, the three of them got to work quickly and in less than seven minutes they were back in the car.


The conference

It was just five minutes to 9am when they arrived at the venue and after parking the car they almost ran into the conference hall. They were late!

All the other teams from the different countries were already there.

The organisers looked upset with them. The first part of the conference was done with.

At the tea break, they were told by the organisers that they would be the first team to make their presentation.

Upon hearing this rather than getting excited all of them looked nervous.

And that is because, instead of planning and preparing for the presentation while in the car, they were still doing the ‘blame game’.

In that tea break of just 10 minutes, the four of them made the best they could in terms of preparing for the presentation but it all seemed a bit too much in haste.

Their presentation was a disaster as they were not coordinating well between themselves.


A shattered team

That evening while returning to their homes, James looked at his colleagues.

They were all silent and completely shattered.

He said to them: “You are all senior to me and all I expected was a little more maturity in all of you. Seeing a flat tyre, all we had to do was to first replace it.

“Then reach the venue and with total focus on the presentation we could have won the competition.

“But instead you three kept fighting and blaming each other as the tyre lay flat where it was!

“I am sorry to say that it is because of your attitude of trying to win an argument and not trying to resolve the crisis that we failed at the conference so miserably!”

Saying all this he too went into a silent mode!


The lesson

Friends, I do not want to guess what may have happened when the team reached their office and what they may have explained as reasons for the failure.

All that we must learn from this story is to develop the wisdom and maturity to choose whether to resolve a problem or waste unnecessary time on ‘blame game discussions or arguments’

Think about this when you are faced with a similar situation in your office and make the right choice!

nMayur Kalbag is a Leadership Coach, Corporate Trainer & Author. He mainly focuses upon Training and Human Resource Development through ‘Specifically Designed Seminars and Conferences. He can be contacted via email:

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