We like to throw our Venturn Young Professionals in at the deep end from the moment they enter the programme. This doesn’t just apply to the complex assignments they take on, but to their teambuilding days as well. This year’s VYP regatta, we sent them out onto the waters of the Oosterschelde with one objective: determine the best way to pass all 10 checkpoints as fast as possible. No experienced sailors aboard? No problem! What better way than to learn on the job, after all?
The best teambuilding days revolve around an activity that is challenging, yet enjoyable. It takes everyone away from their desks for the day, but leaves them with something they can take back into the office with them. Adding Venturn’s maritime roots, sailing was a perfect choice to achieve this goal. “The idea is that you get this group of people on a sailing boat and say: I’m giving you full responsibility,” Founding Partner Patrick explains. He was there to ensure safety and to give some practical instructions on sailing, but no more than that. In fact, asking for any tips on navigation meant one penalty minute. “The entire route was up to them. Here’s all the material you need. Figure out together how to apply it.”
Learning the ropes
None of the group members had any real sailing experience. A number of them had been on a boat before, but navigating a ship, trimming the sails, all of that was completely new to them. Armed with nothing but a map of the local waters and a tidal stream atlas, our VYPs puzzled together their course for the day. Then, with an ample supply of snacks and drinks, they set out to beat the 2016 record of 4 hours and 20 minutes. Not an easy challenge, as that was a year with multiple VYPs who actually knew how to sail!
Aye, aye, captain?
Something funny happens to the dynamics of the group when people align to achieve a common goal without knowing how to get there. “Everyone takes on a different role,” VYP Kirsten notes. With a background in psychology, she was able to explain what happened and why. Very quickly, people instinctively decide where they fit in and how they’re going to approach the challenge. “There’s always one or two people that naturally take the lead and organise the rest of the group. It was fun to be a part of that myself.” The current VYPs successfully rose to the challenge and beat the previous record: in a little over 3 hours, they passed all 10 checkpoints and headed back to port to evaluate. Then, it was time to finally kick back and relax in the evening sun.
“The evaluation at the end tied everything together,” Kimberley says. “We picked two people to give feedback to and offered each other tips on what we could do differently or how we could take on a different role the next time. Not just the next time sailing, but in general. It really is valuable to be around peers that you can laugh with, enjoy a day in the sun with, but that also know how you are in the workplace and are able to help you grow professionally at the same time.” After becoming the VYP regatta titleholders, our VYPs were left to their own devices. Kimberley continues: “Before leaving, Patrick told us: this is your teambuilding. If you want to go back to the cabin to sleep, and leave first thing in the morning to visit the in-laws, that’s up to you. But you’ll be spending a lot of time together in the next year, two years, so this is your opportunity to get to know each other. So we took his advice.” And what exactly did the rest of the evening look like? Kimberley laughs. “What happens in Goes, stays in Goes!”
Find a short one-minute video recap of the day on our LinkedIn, or have a look at the pictures below.