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Ask the Crew Coach: our leadership Q&A column

9th Mar 2015

Our Crew Coach gives expert advice on how captains can rally their crew for the busy season ahead with onboard workshops.

Captain: My yacht has a busy season ahead, and I can’t help but notice that my crew seems a bit fragmented; they are not pulling together as a team. Some are new hires and some have just come back from long holidays, and it’s been a long time since we’ve been on charter as we’ve undergone a major refit. What do you suggest to get everyone on the same page before the hectic season begins.

This is a particularly common situation at this time of year, with crew changeovers and many yachts starting to ramp up again after winter. Just as we take time to service and prepare all the other working parts of the vessel in time for a busy season, we need to make sure the crew are primed and ready as well. If this doesn’t happen properly you run the risk of communication breakdowns and other problems arising once the season actually begins.

The trouble is there is a science and art to ‘recalibrating’ your crew, and this takes time to learn – which you may not have. Rather than learning how to fix a washing machine yourself, you would call in a professional – so given that you’re all busy getting the boat ready, it’s much more efficient to simply call in a professional to come and get your crew working in perfect working order.

Luckily as you are a Captain in the Camper & Nicholsons fleet you are able to hold a pre-season Crew Dynamics workshop on board with me to facilitate this for you. As the Camper & Nicholsons Crew Coach I am here to help make your crew’s transition to the new season as efficient and trouble-free as possible – and also to help you have smooth and successful charters in the weeks ahead.

These one-day Crew Dynamics onboard workshops are designed to strengthen and align teams to shared objectives and enhance individual performance, loyalty and motivation. It’s a good idea to do them twice yearly, first at the beginning of the season to bond and motivate and then at the end to debrief and evaluate how performance measured up to objectives.

Each yacht and crew are different, so these Crew Dynamics workshops are fully customised to each Captain’s requirements according to specified yacht objectives, existing crew and yacht situation. Prior to your workshop we discuss this together and I create a bespoke program that will work best with the outcomes you wish to achieve.

Here are Pre-Season Workshop topics that could be covered:
• Integrating new crew / bonding existing crew, improving overall team communication
• Reinforcing service focus in all aspects of operation
• Communicating the expectations of owners/management
• Clarifying overall season objectives
• SWOT analysis versus goals (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats)
• Developing an agreed success strategy
• Defining operating principles, standards and values to create measurable team benchmarks
• Stress and burnout: strategies and techniques to prevent crew blowouts during the season

Investing a day of your time together as a team is a brilliant way to make sure your crew know exactly what is expected of them and how you will all reach success together this season. Hit the water running this year with an onboard Crew Dynamics pre-season workshop.

Note – these workshops are only available to yachts in the C&NI Charter or Managed fleet, for more information about this and the free executive leadership coaching package provided to all C&NI yacht captains click here.

by Camper Nicholsons

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Each yacht and crew are different, so these Crew Dynamics workshops are fully customised to each Captain’s requirements according to specified yacht objectives, existing crew and yacht situation.