Posted in Change management, coaching, Decision Making, Goals, Leadership

Will it make my boat go faster?

Ben Hunt-Davies Olympic Gold medalist in Sydney 2000 as part of Men’s Rowing 8, shared his journey to the podium at a recent Entrepreneur’s Circle National Event.

Here is my learning and summary of the talk:-

9 years of rowing with no medals culminated in a bar in Cologne after yet another defeat.   The team decided something hand to change if they were ever going to get an Olympic medal.

They needed to change the culture of how they worked with each other and focus on one goal that all behaviours would be accountable to.  “Will it make the boat go faster”, every decision action would only be taken if it made the boat go faster.

The team had very different personalities and routines, but they all wanted to win.  They recognised that behaviours of slagging each other off were not going to make the boat go faster.  Their behaviours to each other would be key the centre of the change in order to gain trust and respect they needed to be honest with each other.

Some key things they did as a team:-

– ask harder and harder questions

– change something in the warm up routine every time

– Every piece of feedback you received you accepted from other team members as they all wanted to win

– go with the best idea don’t compromise

– The team always said individually “today is going to be a great day because I will make it a great day”

– Working harder was not the differentiator to other teams it was the continuous improvement

– reflect and learn from every mistake – make the same mistake twice not acceptable

– tactic was to go really fast first 500m and the second 500m go even faster

– Don’t need to like each other – proactively look for different things in each other

– trust each other that everyone will do their bit

Work your way through the bullet points above and see if you can make your boat go faster?


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