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  • Managing on growth or talent?

    24/12/2014 | Abu Dhabi

    In this 'Schouten Blog' Anje-Marijcke van Boxtel (director coaching Schouten Global and coach of Team Brunel) writes, among other things, about her experiences in the talent-selection process, the training sessions on Lanzarote, her presence in the ports of the stop-overs of the Volvo Ocean Race 2014-2015.

    Proud and happy, that’s the Team Brunel state of mind after their victory at Abu Dhabi. Team Brunel is mainly busy finding the best way to fulfill their dream: to win the race and keep on growing towards that goal. That leads to interesting insights.

    Focus on improvement
    I notice that the guys are mainly busy with reflecting on what went right, which things were different from the last leg, to what extent did we work together based on our values and how can we improve ourselves even more? The exciting close call to Dong Feng has amplified that focus even more. There was visual contact wherefore they got on the spot feedback at just about every move: the boats kept catching up constantly. Direct information about what does or doesn’t make you go faster, caused that they were constantly aware of how well they were sailing and they learned a lot about the boat. It also was exceedingly hard and exciting. 

    DongFeng TeamBrunel.JPG

    Dong Feng jokes around: ‘The problem with Team Brunel is that they don’t want to stay behind us’. And in another video Pablo says about Dong Feng with a big smile: They are waving goodbye, hopefully…’, but GerdJans I would lie if I said it wasn’t tense’ is more than obvious when they arrived. Proud and happy, but more tired than I ever saw them. Being put in the spotlights by Volvo and having a great dinner at sea with the crew that same night: we celebrated!

    But were they outrageously happy? During our conversations  afterwards, it appears that winning this leg is considered mainly a short term success towards their ambition: winning the race. The dream drives their intrinsic motivation. Sailing a great leg, that’s important. Winning the leg is fine, but the best way to fulfill your dream is not always the fastest in short term. It’s about developing, learning, the best course to the end point.

    Interesting discussion


    And there was a lot to talk about that. At the first leg, the stretch was mainly about learning and growing together to make sure that everyone is employable on every spot. The tactics at this leg were more focused on the employability of strengths of individual crewmembers. Especially during the exiting final sprint against Dong Feng, they decided to let ‘the best steersman steer’ and ‘the best trimmer trim’. That, combined with the changed watch system, has - no doubt - led to results in this leg.

    The challenge now is to determine how to find balance in the long term. Because there are some disadvantages about managing purely on talents. A tactic like that puts a lot of pressure on the ones who constantly have to perform high on their specific strengths. Furthermore, set patterns may occur that discourage tactical consideration and new initiatives. That will be at the expense of the motivation and innovative abilities. You can’t persist that for 9 months. And competition will regain while standing still as a team. In an uncertain world where everything changes continuously, dynamic teams that keeps developing are precisely what you need; teams  where everyone comes up with new ideas or innovative solutions in unexpected situations. It is an issue that always depicts among teams, in sports and in business: how do you find balance between the ultimate usage of each other’s strengths and advancing the learning and growing abilities of the team. We’re working on that interesting discussion right now.

    For more information about Team management and Strategic thinking.

    What contributes to innovation?

    • A shared ambition in which values are aligned. That gives direction and space to new ideas;
    • It’s allowed to make mistakes;
    • Create space to experiment;
    • Exploration: thinking outside the box, finding ideas elsewhere;
    • Connectedness: through connection you’re able to hear deviating ideas.


    Nothing from this blog may be reproduced without written permission from Anje-Marijcke van Boxtel of Schouten Global.

    Update Team Brunel, December 24, 2014 
    by Anje-Marijcke van Boxtel, Director Coaching - Schouten Global
    Coach - Team Brunel in the Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15

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