by Olimpia Ponno Training Manager at Cristiana Monina Nautical Events

Set the scene: a sailing team building, a crew of managers, most of them has never sailed before. They ask “What is the right role for us?”The answer is easy “There is a right role for any of you as long as it fits nicely with who you are as persons with your soft and hard skills, personal and professional personality, identity, needs, mental and physical characteristics”.

In our experience, 95% of our partecipants has never sailed before and feels often embarassed to get on board, thinking to act as a ballast! But they don’t know how important the role of the ballast is to accelerate the results, as it helps to make the sailboat stable and to maximize the performance.

In a company as well as on board a main priority to shape the course is to stimulate people to identify the role they really want to play and to be ready to assume the responsibility of the position, measuring their own capacities, pushing their limits, contributing to influence the team-crew performance in a proactive way.

During the sailing we notice that people are often more concentrated on their single task, on their individual performance, exactly what happens at work. No matter if they are experienced or not, from the helmsman to the tactician, tailer, ballast the real challenge for the them is to keep communications open at all times, to take the whole context under control, to be focused on the job at hand, to give and receive feedbacks and not to take hasty initiatives, even if they are always supported by a professional skipper, who takes care of them.

What are the consequences when the helmsman-manager calls the manoeuver and the other managers are not in the right position or are distracted? They lose time, speed, they fail! The more the participants get into the rhythm of the manoeuvers the better they take the responsibility and interact more effectively.

When people are not in the right place in most of workplaces, they play the role the company expects from them, developing a mood that can be very costly in terms of time, energy, resources, money. It is true, environment and circumstances affect people behaviors, but what makes the difference for them is the courage to ask themselves if their tasks matches with the job and role they live, because each of them, aware or not, determines the way to achieve a common goal, to reach the destination.

The sailboat helps people to rethink the positions and roles which evolve at work over time. On board as well as at work each member of the crew-team should be able to answer the following questions: “What can I bring to the team and the company and what can the team and the company bring to me?”. Let’s train to stop and think of the role periodically to make it a good fit for who we are!

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