Leaders create Teams, Teams create Successes
After 9 months of following Dongfeng Race Team’s epic journey to win the Volvo Ocean Race, it is about time to conclude this series of articles.
Throughout the race, we have gained insights about performance in dynamic and complex environments, which can be used to help businesses become more competitive.
The last such insight I would like to share is the importance of individual contributions to a team’s success.
In the first interview Charles Caudrelier gave after winning the Volvo Ocean Race, he said “I am not a great skipper, but I have a great team”.
Beyond these words hide an understatement and a powerful truth. Charles Caudrelier is probably much more than a great skipper and he has indeed a great team.
But what is it that made all of his team get the absolute best out of themselves to end up winning the toughest human challenge on earth?
In a world where perception, impressions, getting noticed have become so important that they can push egoes in overdrive mode and generate unhealthy competition, successful team are the ones in which the common goal remains the priority over personal agendas.
Ocean races are in that respect and many others representative of what happens in corporate project settings.
Teams are being formed to deliver a project. They are composed of individuals chosen for the competencies and skills to achieve the goal at hand. What people in these teams are more rarely screened on is their personalities and ability to perform together.
These teams are usually under pressure to deliver, as are the crews in offshore races. When the race is over they disband to move on to the next challenge. Likewise, when projects have been executed, team members move on to their next project.
Everybody has a personal agenda and a short timespan to prove themselves. That is a potential timebomb for team performance, which can only be defused by building mutual trust and by bonding the team in such a way that the team’s success is also being seen as a key contributor to individual goals.
Whoever has been member of a crew assembled for a race has experienced the build up of trust and the improvement of performance over time, as the team understands everybody’s sailing style, habits and preferred communication mode.
Sailing races create the need to quickly overcome prejudices, perceptions and mistrust about others to focus on collaboration and optimise the boat performance.
Good skippers and good team leaders alike will be able to get through this forming step quickly and sustainably, so that their leadership gets reinforced and everyone concentrates on getting the best out of themsleves.
Picture credits: © Dongfeng Race Team
To make use of this powerful team integration accelerator characteristic of sailing and align teams, ALL4ONE consulting organises immersive leadership development events and team performance seminars, based on ocean racing scenarios and teambuilding onboard sailboats