Team Building Aboard A Tall Ship
McVinney and Company has joined with Tom and Kay Ellis, owners and operators of the Thomas E. Lannon, a 90 foot schooner, which sails out of Gloucester Harbor in Gloucester, Massachusetts, to offer an exciting new approach to event based team development programs. The team building sails are an adventurous way learn about one another and discover a great deal about what makes teams successful. During recent summers, teams from both large and small companies have joined us to take part in these excursions.
Sailing together on a Tall Ship brings out the best in the team, while revealing where the team is challenged to improve. On board, the team learns how to navigate, set and control sails, steer the boat, and manage other technical aspects and decision making necessary to insure a safe trip. Not generally as risky as some adventures, and not as predictable as others, the tall ship experience allows teams to work together at something meaningful in the outdoors while practicing new skills of listening and learning together. As one of our recent customers said of the activity:
This is not about ropes and bars contrived to build trust or teach some point out of context; this is real. You either succeed at getting the boat out of the harbor, to its destination, and back safely and on time or you don't.
Actually, Tom, Kay and their professional crew make sure that success is the only alternative, but the interpersonal interactions, problem solving and general team performance on board are real and the event says a lot about how a team works back home.
For example, on one trip recently we had a team involved in a significant work process re-design effort. The day went smoothly, and the team applied itself brilliantly to the tasks of learning and teaching the various aspects of sailing the ship to one another. As Tom and his crew coached and watched, the team enjoyed re-thinking how they did some of the tasks together. At the end of the sail, during the de-briefing, (usually held in a local Gloucester pub!) we asked what the insights were people had picked up that day.
After a short, thoughtful pause, one of the team members said:
You know, I noticed that there is not one activity on board the ship that is not designed to either keep the boat moving forward or make sure that it is safe. If we could do that much for our organization in our work re-design effort, we will be successful beyond our greatest hopes.
The team agreed and decided to make that the overarching criteria for the rest of their project.
Another group dealt with strong and gusty pre-storm conditions, while another struggled with the doldrums. One team had to face an unexpected tangling of the anchor which took some time and creative thinking to correct, and another team was forced to re-do its schedule and routing due to a departure delay caused by a significantly tardy car full of participants.
As one participant said: It's just like work, you never know what will happen next!
If you think this kind of adventure might be right for any teams in your company, contact us now sailings for the upcoming warm months are booking fast.
Who Can Benefit
Teams as diverse as boards of directors and executive leaders to manufacturing, product development and HR departments benefit from this event. Any team that needs an opportunity to investigate its interpersonal dynamics, discover new ways of learning and working together, or just needs some down time to celebrate successes and work well done, should consider this unique way of building team rapport and sharing some common experiences.
Time: We schedule special sail events for our customers on request
Delivery: Onboard the Thomas E. Lannon, sailing out of Gloucester Harbor in Gloucester, Massachusetts
Key features: Pricing and trip duration, as well as related facilitation for teams with expanded agendas for their team building
can be designed along with the sail itself.
Fees: Our fees for this program are tailored to the trip you design.