Succeeding as part of A TEAM!

The other day, sifting through emails, I pressed the “delete button” over and over. I ALMOST deleted this article, “Becoming Interdependent as A TEAM” from the LeadershipNow™ website. As I started reading, my first thought was back to my childhood where my mother taught us (four kids) to work as a team, stop complaining!

This bird photo is perfect in depicting how a team starts out. There were four kids in my family. Do you see how the birds are discussing WHO will DO WHAT. That’s how we were. If any of you have siblings or endured meetings for group projects at school or work, you know how meetings work. Someone always stands out as the leader, and there are one or two people who remain silent. They either want to play to win OR they are extremely lazy, nothing motivates them. They are dead weight.

My mother, tired of our annoying complaining, taught us (four kids) to work like a Navy Seal team. No one complains, everyone pulls their weight, because as children our goal was “getting to the beach.” If my father saw a lot of complaining, he gave us more chores, which meant no beach time. If we worked as a team, happy smiles, strong work ethic, we got to the beach by Noon.

This is where Jason Caldwell’s article comes in. Caldwell shares how he and his crew team, the American Spirit, worked as a team to row 3,000 miles across the Atlantic Ocean to win the 2016 Talisker Whiskey Atlantic Challenge and set a world record.

What Caldwell says, and I agree with, is that in order to build a successful team, you have to build TRUST and understand what motivates each individual team member. It’s not just about the main goal, you need to care about each person’s individual goal(s) and make sure you are aligned at all times. If you are out of sync, you cannot win.

GREAT ARTICLE!

Let’s find and build a winning team!

My First Race – Dragon Boat Racing

IMG_3594I heard a team captain say they were “short” one woman to be able to form a team for the Dragon Boat races that were coming up, so I shyly raised my hand.  DONE – I was part of the team!

Our day started at 5 AM on Saturday. We had to drive to the location, set up and prepare for the day’s events. A group got there before us and set up our tents. We all brought food for a pot luck and stored our bags, paddle, etc.  FYI: Never forget your towel and change of clothes. You do get wet, it’s fun, but not if you can’t change your clothes on a cold day.

IMG_3601When we practice we do not have a dragon head on our boat, so I was curious to see how this would look.  I didn’t realize that there is a real drum on the boat too. For those of you who do not know much about dragon boat racing I’ll fill you in. There are 20 paddlers to a boat. The first two paddlers at the front of the boat are called, “the strokes,” they set the pace for the boat.

The drummer uses the drum to set the pace of the strokes, so this person must have a loud voice for all of us to hear. When we are paddling it’s easy to get distracted by the boats next to us and their drum beats. I also learned that you lose time if you look up to see “how” you are doing in the race, best to stay focused and give your strokes ALL you’ve got. Finally, there is the steerperson at the back of the boat, who steers the boat and also gives IMG_3609commands to the paddlers. Here is a glossary of Dragon Boat terms.

We raced about 500 meters in 2.5 minutes. There were four boats racing at once and it took a little time to get us ALL lined up. I know 2.5 minutes might not seem long, but imagine how you feel when you are doing “planks” at the gym. You start out strong and then your arms get tired and it takes everything you’ve got to keep in the plank position. Same with paddling, you force yourself to continue paddling through the pain and finish STRONG. That’s where the drum beat comes in, it keeps the team focused.

BAD NEWS – We didn’t win!

GOOD NEWS – We had a lot of fun, we worked as a team and after our 3rd time out, we improved our time, and we finished STRONG!  It was a great day!   GO TRY IT!