What I have learned about the culture at McLaren after twenty-four years
David Statham, Production Team Leader (LinkedIn Pulse)
I joined McLaren a day after my all-time favourite F1 driver, Ayrton Senna stormed to victory in the British Grand Prix at Donington Park in 1993. The first lap was brilliant, as Senna passed multiple drivers with ease to lead the race and to eventually take the chequered flag. The things he could do with a car was unbelievable.
That race encapsulated everything about Senna and McLaren - that 'anything is possible' ethos. That’s one of the main reasons why I joined McLaren.
And how I joined the company was a stroke of luck.
One Friday I was wheeling past the job centre in Woking. I saw a notice in the window which said a company in Sheerwater was seeking a prototype wireman, and having lived in Woking all my life, I knew that could only be one company – TAG electronics. So, without hesitation I applied for the job hoping for the best.
A few weeks later and after a tough interview, I was lucky enough to be the one selected out of many candidates and started working in the Electronic Workshop team, based in Unit 2 in the Genesis Business Park in Sheerwater, Woking.
Fast forward twenty-four years, (and a few grey hairs) I’m a Production Team Leader for McLaren Applied based at the world-renowned McLaren Technology Centre. I’m responsible for the building, testing and servicing our tire pressure system - an important role because it has a direct impact on driver safety.
From all the things I have learnt during my time at McLaren, here are three of the most valuable things I have learnt about the culture at McLaren:
Have a PMA: Positive Mental Attitude
I treat every day as a new opportunity to perform even better than the previous day. It’s only natural that you have bad days at work, or that you don’t feel 100%, but McLaren has taught me to always think of a solution rather than over analysing a problem. I only focus on the positive outcomes from each situation.
Always seek learning opportunities
If I can improve one tiny process or any small part of my work, then that makes me a better technician. I have been trained to learn from every mistake and take every opportunity to learn not just about my role but about the whole business. I believe it has made me a more rounded professional and a better team player.
Trust in your colleagues
Formula 1 is the ultimate team sport, and the workplace is no different. McLaren encourages its people to move around and talk to colleagues in order to improve communication. It’s tempting to try and do everything yourself, but I trust my colleagues and their expertise within their respective areas. Without the effort of our entire team, we wouldn’t be able to create the high-performance motorsport products that power some of the world's most exciting motorsport series.
I can’t see myself moving on from McLaren. If anything, I want to be at McLaren Applied when it grows even further in to the health, public transport and automotive markets. It’s an exciting time to be a part of McLaren Applied and the future is bright.