JCL Blog

Winning is More Fun on a Team

I started racing sailboats at the age of 8 and have done just about every type of racing except offshore (crossing oceans).  Some of the boats I have raced only hold one person (Lasers) and others require a dozen or more.  Like most people, I think winning is more fun than losing, and I also think winning on a team is more fun than winning alone. 

There is a certain magic that happens when a team comes together to do a great thing like win a race or accomplish any objective.  You can read books all day long about how to put together a great team, how to motivate and inspire them, and how to drive for success.  Here are my top three thoughts about teams and teamwork:

All About the People:  Teams are made of people and without the right people -- nothing great will happen.  This does not mean that everyone has to be a rock star.  The Seahawks trading Percy Harvin this week is a good example of that.  The chemistry is much more important than the skills or experience.  Fill your team with smart people with big hearts.  Pedigree and experience are secondary.  Here is a little more on the subject.

Make it Safe to Fail:  If someone gets fired every time there is a failure -- experimentation stops, and the winning will stop shortly after that.  Get your team to realize that failure exists in between where you start and where you want to go.  Figuring out how to deal with it when it happens is the key.  Last night the Dongfeng team was leading the Volvo Ocean Race and lost a rudder.  They didn't try to blame anyone, they got right to replacing their rudder (at 2 AM) and only got passed by 2 boats.  That is awesome.  Here is a little more on the subject.

Give Away the Glory:  I hope everyone gets the chance to stand in the back of the room and watch their team take credit for an awesome performance.  I think it is even more fun than taking the podium.  The greatest singular experience is knowing in your heart that it was you that put the team together and kept it from falling apart and pointed it in the right direction. 

These principles apply to winning sailboat races or hitting a revenue number or any other goal.  Winning is definately fun.

More Fun than Ever

I started racing sailboats when I was eight years old.  All I needed to do was start, and the rest took care of itself.  I wanted to sail all of the time and I pretty much did that with the exception of a short time when I lived in Spokane -- where there was very little sailboat racing going on.

Motivation is easy when you are doing what you love to do.

Later in life I took some time off from sailboat racing and before I new it more than 10 years had gone by.  I just woke up one day and realized that I was not doing what I loved to do, so I went out and got a little boat and started learning how to race again.  Now I am having more fun than ever, even though I am really not very good anymore.  A few weekends ago, while doing our best to finish something other than last, I turned to Lindsey and said that this was the most fun I had had in a very long time.

No matter how busy you are, time continues to tick away.

(In case you are wondering, this picture is not of Lindsey and me because we don't have a picture of us sailing yet.  Soon though.)

Anyway, this kind of thing seems to be happening in other parts of my life too.  I started my company some 16 years ago and it was a blast.  It was all I could think about and the team was great and the problems were huge and we had more fun than ever.  We learned new things, did our best, and the company grew and we did too.  

Lately, I have been thinking alot about new things and how much fun they are to start.  Right now I am working on a new project with my daughter and it too is more fun than ever.  She is super smart, fun to be around and every day is a thrill.  Each day the time zips by and at the end I cannot wait for the next day to start.  

Always work with people you like to be around.

In all of my adventures there have been wonderful people that have put in tremendous effort and I owe each of them for making things possible.  They inspired me to be my best, taught me new things, and propelled me forward.  

There is no way to get there by yourself.

Vic Maui on Google Maps (How to put Lat Lon data onto Maps)

This year I have some friends racing their sailboat to Hawaii.  The nine boat fleet left Victoria over the weekend and they should be there within two weeks.  This kind of thing is more fun than ever to track with the new web enabled tools available.  The race committee is posting the lat and lon and standings each day on the official web site.  The numbers are fun to look at, but not as revealing as a map.  

I thought it would be an interesting exercise to figure out how to put this information onto a map.  It took me an hour or so to figure out, and I think I can update it daily in about 10 minutes.  Here are the steps:

  1. Use the web import tool in Excel to scrape the data off of the web site.   (Exel 2010, Data Tab, From Web...follow instructions -- very easy)
  2. Build some formulas in Excel to format the data to be read by EarthPoint.  (combine the data imported, label columns -- also very easy)
  3. Use EarthPoint to import the spreadsheet and create a KML file that can be read by Maps or Earth.  (just follow the instructions -- also very easy.  Hardest part is deciding on the types of Icons.)
  4. Create a MyMap in Google Maps.  (Go to maps.google.com, My Maps, Create New Map, Edit, Import, follow instructions).  I did this step a few times until I got the thing to look like I wanted.  
  5. Get Link to embed or email around.  (just click on the Link button on the top right corner).

Here are the results embedded: 

View 2010 Vic Maui in a larger map