The paceline moved north, into a headwind, pulling 18mph. “Walker up!” The shout came from the lead cyclist on the nose. He pulled his right hand off the handlebars, arm straight out, pointing to the pedestrian in the bike lane. A second later, his right hand dropped, waved the pace line left, out of the bike lane into the active traffic lane. Though the group may not have seen the walker, each cyclist in the line knew about the hazard and knew to follow the lead bike into the active traffic lane to avoid it.
Intentional, agreed-upon communication. It was simple, efficient and effective. As the paceline continued north, there were other hazards to avoid, potholes, a tree branch in the road, narrowing traffic lanes, overtaking cars. Through a series of hand signals and audible shouts, the group made its way safely through urban traffic.
How does your team communicate in its daily routine? Do they have simple, efficient protocols to warn of impending hazards, delays, material shortages? Do they have agreed-upon signals to provide each other with feedback?
Chances are good that prior to a delay, prior to a material shortage, prior to a change in schedule, somebody knew. Someone could have warned the group and the group could have acted according to an agreed-upon protocol.
Get your team together and play the “what if” game. Find out what problems occur often and how they are best solved. Then create the “signal.”