We have recently completed the national games in Taiwan with a huge success. Our team won 7 out of 8 gold medals and a total of 16 medals out of 21 in the entire event.
We are writing this blog looking at this event from a team work perspective and discuss the synergistic effect of good team work and good organisational culture within the team.
Teamwork begins with the team that we are working with. We can usually add to it and make it more effective, but this article is written in full appreciation of the work and culture developed in the organisation. Yilan County sailing team is run by the sailors parents. They are the driving force behind the team, and take a lot of time and effort to make it a success story. Many times when this is the case there is a tendency to take ownership of process by individuals, in a good cultural environment there is a mutual understanding that the number one role of every team member is to help the other team members perform at their best (at all times), We were blessed that this was generally the case within the team and only needed a small push by us to get a mutual agreement within the team on that matter.
They proved to be one of the best support teams we have encountered in recent years, so the sailors and coaches can really focus on sailing and performing. For example, they took care of feeding the team, watering the team, driving, launching, retrieving, you name it, but above all they gave the team the right mental support, delivered the messages we have developed over time that will ensure the sailors perform best, were very attentive to the daily changes in the mental messages we needed to deliver to the sailors and ensure to deliver them. The successful relationship we have with Yilan goes back three years plus, and has been an honour to be involved with.
From the sailors’ part we saw great encouragement between the team members, making sure everyone wakes up on time to do morning fitness, helping with boat rig and launch, discussing the field of play and race plan to help each other win. Keeping each other alert and ready to race.
This was a very tough event, the sailors spent 4 days out of 5 sitting on shore with a great uncertainty as to whether they are going to race or not and how the race is going to be conducted. Eventually it came down to a single race regatta inside the port in extremely windy conditions 30-40 knots of wind, a 150 meter beat and a broad reach to the finish. With that type of race all our hard work and training on conventional race courses could be thought to be handicapped and boil down to a little bit of luck. Indeed some of our sailors did get “unlucky”, missing the gusts or getting dumped on with the ensuing handicap, but the overall high wind techniques that we had practised really came into their own, and the success was certainly no accident, as the statistics prove!. Our team worked together to achieve the impossible, reduce risk and were able to dominate such racing.
Unfortunately one of our favourite sailors to win a gold medal failed in that short race and was out of the medal tally, allowing emotions to flood him after prize giving but still doing his best to celebrate with the rest of the team. What I saw next gave me great joy as their coach. All the team was comforting him, assuring him he is the best sailor among them and giving him the credit for the medals as he is one of the best role models for them with his hard work and dedication. They all understood we all won those medals as a team and all the team members have an equal role and rights in those medals.
At TopLevel Sailing we strongly believe that creating such an organisational culture of teamwork and mutual help is crucial to success, over the years it has proven time and again to be correct and we put great emphasis in creating a culture in which each team member understands that his first role is to ensure the other team members perform at their optimum. The message is that if you want to be a good sailor, stand on other people and do your own thing. If you want to be able to sail internationally, boost your team and try to be the best that you can be. Success is sweet. Congratulations Yilan County!!