Wednesday, July 22

Music to My Ears

This past week, I had the new and exciting experience of crewing in a sailboat race.  It was so packed with organizational and team lessons that I finally understood why so many executive teams select a sailing experience to build leadership and team skills.  

Our experience after the race concluded was so powerful that I have to single it out to share.  It is something I have encouraged clients to do for years, yet I often wonder how many leadership teams take the time to do this.  Once the race was behind us and we were safely sitting on the boat in our slip, the captain asked his crew, “What did we learn today that will help us do better in the future?”.  Without any finger-pointing or excuses, the crew discussed what went well, what could have been improved, and how they could apply what they learned in future situations with varying conditions. 

In organizations, your position at the “finish line” is less clear unless you set clear measures of success for your goals. This makes it easier to adjust either the goal or the measure of success.  Even if one or both need adjustment going forward, every team can improve its performance by taking the time that our captain did to ask and then really listen to the crew’s answer to his question about what lessons were learned and how these can be used to boost performance going forward.  Thanks to Captain Chuck, my friend Tom Rodgers who got me onboard, and the other crew members who allowed me to participate and learn so much about sailing and performance.

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