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Leadership and Teamwork Lessons Learned on the High Seas

By: PRWeb

Leadership expert offers business leadership and teamwork tips and confirms parallels between ocean racing and business success.

(PRWEB) February 26, 2007 -- Exceptional leaders and teams excel under extreme conditions, persevere despite seemingly impossible odds and succeed in the face of intense competition. Leadership expert Dr. Dennis Perkins believes that these characteristics make great leaders and teams stand out--in both real life situations and in business. He tested this theory in his recent participation in Australia's Sydney to Hobart yacht race adventure, often called the "Mount Everest" of sailing.

"Whether you're in the conference room of a Fortune 100 company or on the deck of Volvo 60 racing boat, leadership and teamwork behaviors are a major ingredient in success or failure," says Perkins.

Perkins, CEO of The Syncretics Group in Branford, author, and former Yale School of Management professor, participated in the recently completed Sydney to Hobart Yacht race to explore the parallels between ocean racing and business success.

According to Perkins, leading a winning ocean racing crew has strong parallels to leading a successful organization or a management team:

1) In both instances, the leader must have a clear vision of where he or she wants the "boat" to go. "Be passionate about your goals and engage everyone in pursuing them," says Perkins. "Make sure everyone understands the winning scenario."

2) Great leaders establish conditions that give rise to "mateship" - a strong sense of team connectedness, cohesiveness and commitment. "Don't leave everything to the top ten percent," says Perkins. "Give everyone on the team a way to contribute."

3) Great leaders offer qualified "crew" the opportunity to contribute beyond their narrow job descriptions. Strong leaders are comfortable having other members of the team take a turn at the "helm" from time to time, and in so doing get savvier about what it takes to win the race.

4) On great sailing teams, many members of the crew demonstrate leadership, in addition to the formal role played by the captain. Likewise, on organizational teams, different team members can demonstrate a number of leadership behaviors, ranging from recognition of others, to offering coaching support. "Coaching doesn't only have to come from the boss," says Perkins.

Perkins previously co-authored a popular leadership book, Leading at the Edge, using the example of Ernest Shackleton's 1914 expedition to Antarctica as a case study for leadership and teamwork under extreme conditions. Facing one obstacle after another for nearly 21 months, including nearly six months living on the ice floes, Shackleton's extraordinary leadership secured the entire crew's survival.    

To read more about Perkins' leadership and teamwork lessons learned from his ocean race experience, go to or call 203.481.6118.

About The Syncretics Group
The Syncretics Group helps leaders, teams, and organizations achieve their greatest potential in demanding environments characterized by adversity, uncertainty, and rapid change.

Over the past two decades, we have studied leaders and teams facing conditions of extreme challenge - the limits of human endurance. Through our study of the Survival Edge, we have drawn lessons that will enable organizations to reach their greatest potential: the Performance Edge.

This concept of The Edge is embedded in our consulting, coaching, and educational offerings, all of which have one thing in common: they are grounded in the experiences of leaders and teams that have overcome the most daunting obstacles imaginable.

We believe that our unique approach and our experience with organizations facing significant challenges, give us a truly unique capability.

For more information on our speakers and organization, please go to our website at or contact us at 203.481.6118

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