Thursday, June 22, 2006

Lessons Learned from a Lifetime of Competitive Sailing

...And how they apply to business.

I’d like to share some observations that help sailboats win races and may, on some level, help you with your business or department or important initiative.

GET YOUR NOSE OUT OF THE BOAT. The skipper and navigator should spend very little time policing the crew. Instead they should look up the lake for wind shifts, keep track of the competitors and plan strategy. “Hire” the right crew and let them keep the boat responsive. Often works the same in successful businesses.

TACKING FOR CLEAR AIR. When a boat is in a pack of several others, many times tacking away from them to get clear can make a big difference. Often works in successfully positioning your company or product.

THE NAVIGATOR IS REALLY THE “NAVA-GUESSER”. Each competitor on the racecourse has a nava-guesser -- the one person who makes the strategic call. We all make mistakes, most of them go unnoticed….not so with the nava-guesser. This person needs, among other things, thick skin and the ability to recognize a mistake and act immediately to correct it. Often works that way for those in leadership positions.

I wish I had time to share more of these with you, but we have a practice race tonight. We race an “A” boat on Pewaukee Lake, home of the largest “A” fleet in the world. We have some video footage of us during a regatta last year on Green Lake. Click here for a look.

Howard Halaska
President , Creative Director

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