Summer vacation a trip with a sailing boat – a team experience with consequences
A field (boot) report by Andrea Martha Lang
cAn experienced team – people knowing each other and being well introduced into roles/rules and practices on board. Everyone did know about the level of sailing experience within the team.
All major aspects which were important for the preparation were discussed prior to the trip. We thought about us being well prepared.
We took the boat over, discussed about roles and rules and everybody was introduced to security standards on board. We had wonderful sunny days first and then we managed a major storm under heavy circumstances. This was a great teambuilding – all major maneuvers were well trained (berthing, trimming etc.) and functioning perfectly fine.
Then the message arrived – one more person – a team member’s girlfriend will join for the rest of the vacation.
From then on the well-rehearsed team was confused.
- What will we have to expect?
- Do we really want this?
- Would it be unfair if the team member / our colleague could not bring in his girlfriend on board?
- How will we manage the situation with a person we don’t know?
We had asked ourselves all this questions and decided a clear ‚yes’ for the expansion of the team! We became very positive and excited about the person to arrive.
What we haven’t done – we haven’t asked ourselves whether the person arriving would be familiar enough with common roles and rules on the boat. We did know each other quite well by then.
Finally the self-fulfilling prophecy took place – security standards were trained. We became acquainted slowly. But major aspects, rules and roles in the teams (well trained by now within the old team) were not specifically discussed.
We had expected the friend to explain it to his girlfriend, because he did know her and he was an expert with boats as well as familiar with the team rules.
Since we did not explicitly discuss rules and roles we became frustrated about the habits of the new guest and even the friend. But by the way – the new guest could not know it. The ‚old’ team member was happy having his girlfriend on board. He had forgotten about the rest of the team and the rules. The team spirit broke and the mood changed.
Let us briefly analyze what had happened:
A personal conflict arose:
We had different opinions about a sailing holiday. There were no thoughts about the impact on the others.
Original introduced rules and roles were not been followed anymore. It would have been the skipper’s role to explain and clarify.
People with different opinions about a sailing trip and a vacation on a boat were introduced to rules and agreed on the habits on the boat. This could not have been foreseen since nobody had known the person joining. Clear communication compared to expectation was missing.
A final discussion about all the major experiences from the trip was the result at the end of the vacation. Now we all know what we need for a trip like this for the next one to come.
Always good to have a lessons learned session at the end.
The days until the end of the trip were no fun. Too bad – time, even holidays are so important for relaxation and having fun.
So don’t miss important communication and clarification in mixed teams – stay open minded and listen to the expectations people might have and respect cultural differences.