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Making the Connection

Here are some of the lessons, derived from Peter's experience in the sport of sailing, that he often shares in his presentations.   Peter's clients sometimes select one or more messages that resonate with their business to help provide real focus to Peter's customized presentation. 


bulletMake a Total Commitment. The worlds of sailboat racing and business are filled with stories of committed underdogs beating out far bigger, but less committed competitors. Winning requires making the kind of commitment that your employees, co-workers, and business partners can rely on fully and without question.


bulletBuild a true Team Effort. When you’re going for the gold in a major sailing campaign, the skipper, the crew, and the entire organization have to work together as a team. Any group, whether it’s a grand-prix sailing team or a business, can build effective teams. All it takes is commitment from the top to give employees the authority and the autonomy to manage themselves and make the kinds of decisions that have the greatest impact on the team, as well as the support of the organization to encourage and reward true team behavior.


bulletStack the deck in your favor. In business, and in sailing, you’ve got to leverage every possible advantage you can in your effort to beat the competition. In fact, if you aren’t leveraging every possible advantage in your favor, you can bet your competitors are. Whether it’s staying on the edge of the very latest technological innovations, working harder (or smarter) than the competition, or creating new efficiencies by improving productivity and cutting costs, any advantage you can squeeze out of the organization can mean the difference between success and failure.


bulletBe prepared to change course quickly. Sailing and business are both multidimensional activities where change is a constant. Whether faced with the rapidly shifting ocean currents and winds aboard a boat or changes your business environment, one must be flexible enough to quickly adapt and take advantage of those changes. Today, the best companies can be measured by their ability to change course quickly and decisively in response to changes in their environment.


bulletExpect the unexpected. There’s no such thing as being too prepared when it comes to anticipating any event—employees quitting, networks crashing, customers who stop calling—that could slow down or cripple an organization. By taking the time up front to create goals and plans, and to be fully prepared for any possible outcome, it’s guaranteed that your expectations will be met much more frequently than if you don’t. Successful sailing teams consider every possible thing that could ever go wrong in a race—from blown sails to unfavorable wind shifts—and develop contingency plans to work around the problems in real time before their boat falls too far behind the competition.


bulletPush the limits. It’s often said that the perfect racing sailboat is one that has pushed the limits to what is humanly and technologically possible so far that it falls apart and sinks just after it wins the regatta. While you certainly don’t want your business to fall apart as soon as you achieve your goals, you do want employees to stretch themselves and to continually push their own personal limits to reach the organization’s goals. When employees push their limits, they are working at their full potential—even expanding that potential. Anything less, and the results are average performance.


bulletMaster the inner game. In mounting a competitive sailing campaign, the state of mind of the participants is as important as having the right equipment, resources, and training. Attitude, focus, patience, consistency, and the ability to learn from one’s mistakes all play a role in a person’s state of mind. So too, in business, the ability to master these elements—the inner game—is crucial to long-term success. The creation, care and feeding of a learning organization is a critical step in profiting from one’s mistakes and building a database of experience that can benefit everyone on the team.

Peter Isler - Motivational Speaking

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