SOFT SKILLS: THE TALENT MANAGEMENT STRATEGY DEVELOPED THROUGH THE SAILING BOAT
by Olimpia Ponno Training Manager at Cristiana Monina Nautical Events

“Is it possible to organise a teambuilding without any sailing experience?” The answer is “YES”!

On a sailing boat, if the hardware is represented by the technical language, the maneuvers, the safety guidlines shared with the crews through manuals and briefings, the software is provided by the people soft skills, those transversal interpersonal competences, behavioral-human-relational-social-emotional attitudes, which make the difference for the individual and professional performance.

That’s way training through the sailing boat is the perfect means to support the corporate Talent Management Strategy, a method to measure the soft skills during the phases of recruiting process, onboarding, assessmentcareer developmentgenerational changereverse mentoring.

Let’s take the 10 soft skills, selected by tha World Economic Forum (WEF) as the most requested by the companies from 2015 to 2030, and convert them into activities on board.

Complex problem-solving & decision making: on the sailing boat people train to be proactive, assuming an out-of-the-box attitude, to quickly identify different solutions from the most “logical” ones, to take full responsibiity of the decisions, stimulated by the variables out of their control like the wind and the sea.

Critical thinking & creativity: facing the velocity of information exchange on board, the mistakes and conflicts which can arise from the co-living in a small space, people train to overcome their prejudices, to deal with the others at work, to fully activate “12 senses”, to stimulate the individual and team creativity, i.e. when they must decide the boat position or the direction during a competition.

Coordinating with others & people management: once on board, it becomes critical to move and think in synch, to make sure that each one understands where to stay and what to do, modulating weight, tone, language based on diversities and roles, motivating and supporting each other for the team result, building mutual trust and asking for feedback constantly.

Emotional intelligence & cognitive flexibility: each crew member has to face the flow of different emotions during the sailing and the maneuvers, training to recognise and manage either the positive or the negative ones, overcoming barriers believed impassable. On board the person experiences the corporal-imaginative-social dimension, switching from indipendence to cooperation, sense of responsibility, seeing what happens from time to time with different eyes.

Negotiation & service orientation: Negotiation is constant on a sailing boat: negotiation with oneself and the others, in front of the changing scenarios, coming out of the comfort zone, when someone tells you to change the boat or the skipper; when you assume a different role; when the personal needs give way to the team requirements.

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