Make your team’s boat go faster

23rd October 2012

Round-the-world yachtsman Pete Goss had a simple rule when evaluating people’s ideas:

Will it make the boat go faster?

If yes, do it. If not, don’t. If you’re not sure, analyse it until you are sure, then do the right thing.

This simplicity and level of clarity would have been invaluable when deciding between options. So, this week, I have three questions for you:

1.What is your/your team’s/your company’s equivalent of “the boat going faster”?

Have you got one? If so, it will be short (8-10 words max) output-focused and memorable. Examples I have seen include:

  • Wow. Everyone. Always.
  • Always win-win (so they keep buying and you keep trying)
  • Givers Gain (this one belongs to BNI, the world’s largest networking and referrals organisation)
  • Improve health
  • Amaze our customers every day. And that’s it.
  • Help Mr. X make better decisions
  • Ensure Mrs. Y looks good in Z’s eyes
  • Etc

2. Do you – and/or everyone in your team/company – have your ‘boat phrase’ front of mind?

Well, do you?

And, if you want to find if others do, ask them. If it turns out they don’t, reinforce it until they do.

3. Is everything geared to achieving it?

Your best way of always making your boat go faster is to ensure that everything is geared to helping it happen: your processes, systems, how you measure success in yourself and others, how your leaders behave etc.

As the famous ‘story’ goes, President Kennedy asked a NASA janitor who was sweeping the floor “What do you do here?”. His reply: “I’m helping to put a man on the moon”.

If someone asked your colleagues, what would they say?

And if someone asked you?

Action Point

Ask yourself/your team the three questions, to see how aligned you are.

Use these answers to identify what you should change, to help your boat go even faster.



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