An Interview with Yacht Racing Skipper Brendan Hall
At the February 2019 Knowledge Guild, we experienced the incredible story telling of Brendan Hall. We caught up with him backstage to chat about his leadership style and how businesses can learn from a world-class skipper approach!
At just 27, you were part of the team who won The Clipper Round the World Yacht Race. Did you have a game plan? How did you prepare for the adversity in the race?
One thing that we did in the race that I think would be really helpful for business leaders in the uncertainty that is staring us in the face was this. Everyday, we had a daily meeting. In that meeting, I would make sure that the crew understood the strategy, what we were trying to achieve, what change, and uncertainty was coming, and what our plan was to deal with it. And then I would ask the crew to really engage with our purpose.
And did you have a clear purpose?
Our purpose was a statement we came up with before the race, collectively, and it was to do everything we can to win the race and feel fulfilled. Some days there wasn’t much to be said, and other days it gave the crew a voice to be able to talk about the issues they were facing and the things they were finding challenging. I guess I was crowdsourcing our approach to the race and how we were going to face the challenges ahead of us.
What makes a great leader?
I think a great leader is someone who can change their style as their team evolves and lay down that mantle of being the controlling puppet-master heroic leader, and embrace what a really high performing leader becomes, which is a servant leader. They are okay sharing responsibility, empowering others, and achieving the result that they want by doing their best for the team underneath them.
In 2019, how can we take uncertainty in our stride?
In certainty, what a team needs from their leader is absolute clarity of purpose. They need to understand what they are doing, what the strategy is, and they need to be informed.
And finally, what’s next for you Brendan?
I had big plans of further adventures, but they’ve been put on hold for now, and I’m a father of two lovely little children. That’s quite an adventure in and of itself!
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