A winning crew is the secret to business

From Christine Mann, Business Stepping Stones

I had the great fortune to watch Wild Oats complete the Sydney to Hobart yacht race a few years ago. Although Comanchee took line honours that year, I later listened to Bob Oats explaining their philosophy for success.

The winning formula has been keeping the crew turnover to a minimum, ensuring that everyone on board knows the boat inside and out and works effectively together as a team, under the guidance of Mark Richards, the captain.

This is not rocket science, but when we are constantly working in the business without the precious time of working on our business, these practices can become lost.

“Keeping your employee turnover to a minimum comes from having a healthy culture in your business by treating your employees as assets.”

 In order for them to perform well, they need clear procedures and policies so they understand their role. Effective leadership is paramount to the success of the business in creating an approachable environment where employees feel supported and not intimidated. Strong leadership reminds employees of the expectations and how to stay focused and on track. Clear communication increases performance and helps to identify those that struggle, thus being able to offer further training or redeployment if needed.

The Bass Straight seas have some of the most extreme weather and, as past Sydney to Hobart yacht races have shown, can be life threatening at times. Wild Oats sailed through these challenging moments because they were trained to do their part by a strong leader with strong cultures of ownership, responsibility and teamwork.

The look of euphoria on the faces of the crew was so remarkable as a challenge fought and won over the previous 3 to 5 days, they challenged other boats, they challenged themselves and they challenged each other. They were winners, even if they didn’t win on the day, and for outsiders looking in, you almost wished you were part of that amazing team, albeit the reality of those enormous seas brings you back to earth very quickly.