What is the ‘right’ culture for your yacht? It won’t be the same everywhere you go. The yacht, the owner, the guests, not to mention the senior crew’s approach. However, there is no doubt that culture is driven from the top down. So how do you get crew to ‘buy in’ to the culture that you want on board?
Step 1 Have a clear and shared vision. Know how you want people on both the inside and out to view the yacht, and articulate it. Couple to that shared values, attitudes and standards that every crew member understands and believes in.
Step 2 Live and breathe the culture. Which means that you as the leader do what you say you will do, and every single day you are beyond reproach – you lead by example. If you ask crew to show respect, then you are the person who never makes that inappropriate remark. If crew overstep the mark – they are immediately pulled back in line and there is no favouritism. If there are issues, bring them to the table, consider asking crew to vote for a crew rep, as well as your safety officer.
Step 3 Recruit wisely. As Richard Branson believes “Hire for attitude, train for skill.” He looks for people with great attitudes, who are passionate about what they do. He says you can train for skills, but you can’t train for attitude. Use the probation period to find out all about your new recruit, have they got the character that is right for this yacht?
Step 4 Share the decisions. As the leaders you may think you have all the answers, but the power of group thinking is immeasurable. Not only in terms of the solutions that are identified, but the increased buy-in you achieve from involving crew in the decision making process, particularly when the decisions affect them.
Step 5 Empower crew. Don’t micro-manage, give them a general sense of direction and they may surprise you with their ingenuity! Not to mention the more involved and connected they will feel about the yacht. Ensure they have a voice, so communications flow upwards as well as down.
Step 6 Listen to their language. Is it them and they or we and us? The more together crew feel the stronger and more defined your culture will be. If it’s them and they, find out what’s causing the divide and do something about it.
Step 7 Give crew time and space. Whether to hide away in their cabin or head out and explore, find the opportunities to give them time to re-charge and energise, otherwise they will burn out.
Step 8 Team bonding matters. Activities such as going out for a meal as a whole crew, or participating in a charitable fund raising event brings the crew back together again. No it doesn’t solve crew issues, but it can help to tighten the bond and break down the hierarchical barriers.
Impact Crew’s experienced team of highly professional consultants are on hand to support you to work through any number of these steps. Large corporations involve specialists to help them to define and create the culture within their organisations, so why would you not deserve the same support? The industry is awash with courses to help crew to develop their technical skills. When you find yourself in a leadership role, 80% of your time is about dealing with people; so give yourself a fighting chance and invest in this vital aspect too. Contact us now to find out how we can easily and flexibly, help you to build the culture you would like on your vessel.
Karen Passman of Impact Crew
t: +44 (0)1425 614 419