As the summer warms up, the heat is on and if you’ve been very busy with guests, as thankfully a lot of yachts do seem to be this year, by now your crew’s desire to go above and beyond the call of duty could be starting to wane. Unfortunately of course you, your owner and management company (if there is one) are counting on them to be putting in 110% all they way through the season, so you need to ensure you’re doing your bit to keep everyone firing on all cylinders right up until the last guest steps off the passerelle in September or even October.
If you want your dream team to really excel and go above and beyond their basic job requirements there are a few things you need to do as their leader or manager to provide them with the support, encouragement and tools they need in order to be able to perform exceptionally. Here are 6 ways you can turbocharge your teams to keep them running at peak performance:
1. Make sure that you have regular check-ins with individual crew members and different departments. Find out how they are doing, if there is anything they might be struggling with or are unsure how to do. When you are approachable and available to your crew it encourages communication and you can deal with any problems early rather than when they have escalated to something bigger.
2. Let the crew know you’ll be holding performance reviews at the end of the season and make sure these have clear measurement criteria so all crew know exacty what is expected of them personally. You could hold a preliminary meeting with each to set these criteria and ask - are they happy in their job? Are they getting what they need in order to be able to do their job properly? If there is something stopping them from performing or being motivated to go above and beyond, find out what it is and help them to find a solution so that they can move forward. Help them to take steps to do something about it or make the changes necessary to be able to get back on track to achieving their objectives.
3. Remember to measure your crew performance against your yacht’s core values and the team objectives that fit your yacht’s ‘brand’. This will encourage crew to perform in line with the core values and make sure they understand what kind behaviour is expected from them. If you need to correct behaviour, express it in terms of a value that they need to meet. This is a far more effective way in helping people understand why they need to do things in a certain way. When you keep coming back to the yacht brand and objectives and align that with their personal responsibilities it helps to reinforce the role they have in the yacht’s image and overall success.
4. Training and mentoring is essential if you are to help your team achieve success. Again, align training to the core values and objectives so people can see why this training is valuable and how it will contribute to the yacht’s success. Identify training and mentoring needs throughout the season and make sure people get the guidance they need to fulfil their responsibilities. Show crew they will be rewarded with training when they show a desire to step up to a new level of responsibility by managing their current responsibilities perfectly.
5. When individuals perform well, remember to recognise and reward success – especially with your top performers. It is so easy to take those people for granted because they just get on with the job: they know what to do and they do it well, but top performers often need just as much encouragement and recognition as everyone else. Make sure you take the time to thank them for their hard work and recognise the care and effort that they put in.
6. As a team, when you have a success, no matter how big or small, make sure you celebrate it! Do so in a way that benefits everyone and that retains the professional image of the crew. If you can’t get off the boat, do something onboard like a special crew dinner or a treat like taking it in turns to let people have a lie in and recouperate. Think about rewards that replenish the crew’s energy rather than depleting it – ie a spa day can be of much greater benefit than a massive night out.
If you want your crew to go above and beyond as a team, you need to be the type of leader that leads by example and shows that you care about them as individuals as much as you care about their performance. Good luck and let me know how you are getting on – and if you have other team building ideas to share please post them in the comments below!
Alison Rentoul is ex yacht crew with 15 years of yachting experience, and a professionally trained personal development coach working with crew worldwide, helping them realise their highest potential at every level. See www.thecrewcoach.com for more information.