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  • Building innovation on expertise

    10/06/2015 | Lisbon

    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.

    Recognize this expression, 'It's up to the younger generation'? Here in the Race Village, everyone’s talking about 'old and new management'. An NRC-article recently suggested that sailing needs a newer generation of sailors too. By ‘newer’ of course, people often mean ‘younger’. But, in my opinion, any conversation about the 'new management generation' touches on the core issues of a discussion about 'a new generation of management'. In a complex, changing world, we need a change in leadership style.  This has more to do with how knowledge is managed, focus on growth and development, and the way decisions are made, than it has to do with age.

    Old versus new generation management
    Traditionally, it has always been the skippers who makes the decisions, based on their extensive knowledge, experience and authority. They determine the strategy, and translate information about the weather, wind and waves  into tactical decisions. Based on the skipper’s calls in terms of the route taken and choice of sails, the crew sails the boat as fast and as safely as possible. The same has always been true in business. The CEO sets the course, based on navigational data about demand, turnover, market position, etc., and then, using his wisdom, direct their staff accordingly. 

    However, in the VUCA world, or in one-design yacht racing - with little to differentiate between the boats, with experienced crews competing under often highly challenging circumstances – being the leader, all by yourself, is no longer sufficient. Under such circumstances, if you want to win, you have to engage all of the talent available to you. The know-how needed to achieve this is, by definition, no longer that of just one person. If you want to spot opportunities and exploit them successfully, it becomes a case of “All hands (and ears, eyes, brains...) on deck”. Today's leaders generate a team culture that allows them to work from several perspectives and capitalize on everyone’s talents.  With a committed, focussed crew, who take a pleasure in their work, today’s teams are always ready, alert to every nuance of trim and helm, and can carry out  fast and faultless manoeuvres, even under the most severe conditions. Today's leaders must challenge their people to actively take part in the rapid and flexible development of their organization and team.    

    Shared decisions
    Active participation requires a different style of knowledge management. Information no longer accumulates at one point, but is shared within the entire team. Because they are the ones who actually work with this information, they shape the working process, they interact with the customers. They spot different things. If you don't involve all of them in setting the course and making decisions, you miss out on a lot of very valuable informational input. By  processing all of the available information together from differing perspectives, you can generate the opportunities and creative ideas that lead to success, now and over the longer-term.

    This change is gradually taking place in Team Brunel as well. The flow of information to the crew on deck has been  improved. The benefit of informing everyone about the weather, wave conditions, course and position in the fleet, is that the navigator and skipper instantly acquire the additional help of six brains and six pairs of eyes and ears. Everyone is engaged, extending their own antennae and processing the information provided from their own perspectives, using their own expertise. Everyone examines their own individual environments with a new pair of eyes, sees other opportunities and possibilities - which are then taken into account in the final decision. “This is the major reason for the growth in our team” said Bouwe. “The challenge is to combine expertise and experience with new ideas and new perspectives.“ Their first place in Lisbon is a crowning achievement in the progress of a skilled leader and his team.


    Click here for more information on 
    Managing interaction
    Managing teams 
    Managing change
    seminar The Human Factor in Gothenburg

    Hallmarks of new-generation leaders
    New generation leaders have a learning attitude that is focused on growth and development. They put themselves at the service of their team and:
    - help create an open team culture, in which active participation in both thinking and ongoing development are the norm 
    - are transparent and active in knowledge management
    - are strongly focused on the development of people within their organization.

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

    Update Team Brunel, June 10, 2015
    by Anje-Marijcke van Boxtel, Director Coaching - Schouten Global
    Coach - Team Brunel in the Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15

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