Magazine article Personnel Journal

Smooth Sailing for Teamwork

Magazine article Personnel Journal

Smooth Sailing for Teamwork

Article excerpt

ONE WORKDAY MORNING, A group of your employees sets sail on the San Francisco Bay. The sun is out, the wind is up and the mood is good. They stay out all day, and their minds continually wander to ... work. That's because the Executive Cup program, established by organizational psychologist J. Mitchell Perry, is not just a fun outing, but a hands-on teamwork tutorial.

The three-day "adventure training" course is designed to use the team skills needed for sailing to teach executives how to work as a cohesive unit.

Perry started the program in 1986. Looking for a way to emphasize teamwork in a memorable format, he decided to combine classroom training on the subject with hands-on action over several days of sailing. "I started looking for experiences to test what we would be teaching in the classroom," says Perry. "The first thing I thought of was sailing, because when you put people on sailboats they have to behave like a team or the sailboat won't sail."

The sailing expeditions help point out flaws in team interaction in a way that mere discussion can't. The gap between what people say makes a good team and how they actually act becomes readily apparent. "[In the classroom], when they answer the question "What makes a good team? …

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