Doing Things Right

» Posted by on Apr 15, 2013 in Blog | Comments Off on Doing Things Right

Doing Things Right

Do it right or don’t do it at all.”

Many people talk about doing things the right way; that doing your best and trying to do things ‘right’ is a virtue.

There is truth in that in motorsports and anything involving complex machines. But the big question becomes, what is the ‘right’ way of doing things? I think around here the right way is thinking ahead, fixing problems as soon as possible, and learning from mistakes.

Over the weekend I replaced the bumper on the rallytruck. All the threads were cleaned and coated with anti-seize, even the bolts holding in the bumper mounted lights. The lights themselves were hit with contact cleaner, and all circuits tested before re-installation. Hidden details that no one will ever see, but it was an effort to insure that things will work right, and when anything has to be removed, it will be easy to do so.

Also in the course of building the rallytruck, I pulled the factory alarm system. This included a starter inhibit which was the final ground for the starter motor relay. I had to connect this to ground; this was done by soldering wires and covering with heatshrink. Twisting wires together and using electrical tape is lazy, prone to failure, and not something we do around here. Solder, ring terminals, and heatshrink take a little more effort, but they are worth it in the long run.

Another Team Sanctuary trick is keeping bright fluorescent wire ties around at events. In the heat of rally, or in the middle of the night while overlanding, in can be difficult to remember what parts have been an issue, what parts have been swapped for spares. Any issues from driver comfort to broken parts are tagged with bright zip ties right then and there. Orange or red for broken parts, yellow for concerns. Sometimes you can’t throw away the bad part due to location (say in the middle of a rally stage) or you can’t fix the problem but want to make note of it. If all you can do immediately is acknowledge the problem and vow to fix it later, well that’s still “doing it right” in my book.

Sometimes doing it right means admitting a part or idea is just not right for competition. It’s also the same with people. A lot of folks find racing exciting, but fewer genuinely have the excitement and passion to be good team members. Often their spark is obvious.

We have to do things right with the people on the team as well as the machines. And the same rules apply — thinking ahead, fixing problems as soon as possible, learning from mistakes. Sometimes we learn that some people just aren’t right for the team. The best times are when we learn more about the ones who are right, the ones that we build so much trust and friendship that we are willing to strap in to a rally car with them and risk life and limb in the pursuit of excitement. Relationships with people like this do take a little more effort, but, like I said before, it is worth it in the long run.