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  • What if?

    30/10/2014 | Zaltbommel

    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.

    Sailing the Volvo Ocean Race is risky business. But what if something bad happens at home and you’re stuck on board. How should communications be handled in such circumstances? Making agreements about this in advance, makes it easier to deal with in case the unexpected does happen.

    Planning for the unpredictable
    IMG_4538.JPGArm and hand injuries are not uncommon in this race. Worse things can happen too. That’s why some guys were trained to perform a surgery if necessary. But what if something severe happens back home when you are in the middle of the ocean and can’t go home - unless the boat happens to be near the coastline and a powerboat can pick you up. Do you want to know bad news as soon as possible or would you rather hear it on the moment you can leave: at arrival at the stop-over? And how should things be arranged at the quay in that situation? We took time to talk about these worst-case scenarios and work out a plan. Impressive how firm they all immediately knew how they personally wanted communications to be handled in  emergency circumstances, even when they hadn’t considered fully before.

    You could compare this with scenario planning in business as a part of strategic thinking. An important way of anticipating the uncertainties and unpredictable in the VUCA-world (volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous) we live in. If you do not take possible risks into account, you can get overwhelmed and stressed by sudden changes, which will certainly influence your performance. By thinking about responses in advance, you are better prepared and more able to adapt to even the worst scenario.


    Stop-over protocol
    We also made a protocol about how to arrange things at the stop-over in Cape Town. After several weeks without any privacy, relaxation and spare time for yourself is a priority. As we know from Job Demands Resources research in business organizations, having room for autonomy and a good work/life balance are important energy sources and part of a context that drives growth. A context we tried to optimize in our preparations to create a high performance team. If you don’t plan this, chances are others fill in your time for you. Every time management course will point that out. You get confiscated by the media, sponsors, repair jobs or other ‘urgent’ activities and in the end you haven’t tapped any new energy from these sources at all, which will certainly affect your personal effectiveness and that of the team.

    Therefore one of our two doctors and our physiotherapist stand on the quay for medical assistance and a check-up. I will be there to have coaching sessions, individually and with the team. What was hard, which challenges did you solve well and what did you learn from that about yourself? What were peak experiences and which strengths can be deduced from that for the team? After that it’s time for sleep, food and their family. The apartments, restaurants, everything is well arranged so they can fully recover. Until it’s time to start training and preparing for the next leg.

    Qualities of a high performance team

    • It is focused on the results, the collective dream. Team interest has precedence over that of the individual.
    • It feels and takes on responsibility and calls each other to account.
    • It is committed. The priorities are clearly defined and you learn from your mistakes.
    • The team is not afraid of conflicts, speaks up and respects each other’s opinions.
    • People trust each other.
    • The leader is optimistic about the result and has high expectations of his team.

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

    Update Team Brunel, October 30, 2014 
    by Anje-Marijcke van Boxtel, Director Coaching - Schouten Global
    Coach - Team Brunel in the Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15

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