Sailing The America’s Cup

sailing as a team

There are boats — little, tiny dinghies — that can be easily managed by one person. You don’t need, and often don’t have room for, more than one, or maybe two, people.

But those ships can’t travel very far in the open sea. They can’t maintain much speed. They have their uses, of course, but if you have a loftier goal, say sailing around the world, or competing in the America’s Cup, well, in the immortal words of Chief Martin Brody (JAWS): You’re gonna need a bigger boat.

If you’ve ever watched the America’s Cup, you’ve seen the boats I’m talking about. They’re enormous, and they certainly can’t be sailed single-handedly. It takes a team, and during the race it becomes imperative that everyone communicates effectively and works together.

In a lot of jobs, it’s easy to think you’re operating a dinghy; independent, autonomous, not really needing anyone, and as long as you play by the rules, as long as you achieve your objective, who really cares how you got there? Who cares which method you used — if you’re operating alone?

But if you’re on a team, you are never operating alone. You’ve got to have solidarity. You’re not on a dinghy, you’re in the America’s Cup, and if you want optimum performance, you’ve got to work together. You have to maintain the same methodology. Everything you can do together, you’ll end up doing better if you keep that solidarity. But this means you might not get your way. And isn’t that a good thing? If you’re on a team, it shouldn’t matter what your way is. What matters is whatever allows our ship to sail efficiently and win the race. It’s not what’s best for me, it’s what’s best for us.

Are you sailing on a dinghy, alone and autonomous? Or are you competing with a team in the America’s Cup?