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Building the Perfect Team

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We’ve all heard about, or experienced, discord amongst crew. The horror stories of crew members screaming at each other or falling out because of personal differences or miscommunication, or a combination of the two. Tensions can run high when you put a bunch of strong characters together in a confined space with no time off for weeks on end.

Throw into the mix the fact that, unlike an office job, crew both work and live together, and you have a tinderbox of potentially explosive personal politics just waiting to ignite. 

But what if you could scientifically select the perfect team? What if you could find a way to ensure crew will work seamlessly and harmoniously together despite their different perspectives and personalities? Let’s face it, no two people are the same and they don’t need to be in order to get along and work well together. What’s essential in a harmonious team is individual self-awareness and for everyone to have a deeper understanding of, and respect for, the values others bring. Gaining these greater insights is where profiling tools come into play.

Profiling tools, otherwise known as personality and behaviour assessments, have been around for decades, and are commonly used in the corporate world to define and measure individual strengths and weaknesses. Two well-known tools are Myers–Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and DISC assessment, both of which have been popular in the US and UK and which many people may have come across in their former lives before yachting.

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Although there are differences between profiling platforms, there are some common threads  running through the results you receive. This is because they all originate from the work of the psychiatrist Carl Jung. In the 1920’s he pioneered the use of psychometric testing as a tool to help in the treatment of his patients.

Carl Jung had based his psychometric testing on Roger Wilhelm’s translation of the I Ching, a 5,000 year old Chinese document and system of thinking, which also underpins Tai Chi, Qi Gong, Feng Shui and Ying and Yang.

Knowing this, when Roger Hamilton set out to create his own superior profiling system he returned to the source of Jung’s work, the I Ching, to see what may have been left out of Jung’s earlier interpretation. The result is Talent Dynamics, a rich and multi-dimensional profiling system that represents an individual’s mix of energy, thinking and action styles in the context of business, relationships, markets and other units of time.

Talent Dynamics


Talent Dynamics is changing the game – it’s a system that assesses personality, strengths, productivity, values and behavior, linking these to activities that either energise or deplete energy, giving the recipient insight and a clear path to guide them towards success. The framework helps us to recognise where we fit into this cycle, and what we can do to move more easily from one stage to the next in order to achieve harmony, growth and refinement. 

Some people have had bad experiences with profiling, particularly when they are used to identify weaknesses, with a view to the recipient working harder to improve in these areas. This can be counterproductive for the individual, and may also throw others around them out of sync.  Instead, the Talent Dynamics framework encourages everyone in the team to play to their strengths, which brings out the best in each person and improves the overall performance of the team.

So, what does all this mean? The principle behind Talent Dynamics is that individuals, teams and entire organisations perform at their best when they are in a state of ‘flow’. Put simply, flow is your path of least resistance, using your natural talents.

Talent Dynamics Trust

When you know your own profile, you understand where your strengths and challenges lie, enabling you to focus on doing what you are best at (and enjoy the most), which is also where you will contribute your greatest value. When you do this, you create greater trust: people know they can depend on you to deliver what is expected of you, and trust is attractive, so people will want to do more with you.

In a career context this means you are likely to attract better job offers, promotions and pay rises, while in a business context it means you will attract more clients who are prepared to pay more for your services.

In yachting it means a harmonious crew operating a successful yacht in which the owner is happy to invest more time and money as they are satisfied with the results they are seeing. At the same time you enjoy what you are doing more, you feel more fulfilled, and your effectiveness greatly increases, which also reduces your stress! This is what happens when you understand and work within your natural ‘flow’.

Key to all of this are the four energies that form the basis of the eight talent profiles:

Big-picture thinking strategists and innovators who naturally ask the question: what is the vision and what could we create

High energy, people focussed extroverts who are naturally drawn to the question: who do we need on the team and who else can we get excited about the idea

Down to earth, organised and structured with an innate sense of the right time and place to do things and a strong drive for order and harmony, who naturally ask: when and where is it appropriate to do this

Analytical and improvement focussed introverts who have the innate ability to see ‘how’ things can be streamlined, made more efficient and more effective.

Every unique profile is made up of a percentage spread across these four key forces, revealing the core strengths of that individual and how best they can be utilised in a team to contribute the greatest value.

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In the context of yachting, Alison Rentoul, The Crew Coach, is passionate about helping crew to discover their unique spread of talents and to learn how to play to their strengths using Talent Dynamics in her individual and group coaching sessions. “We all have strengths and we all have challenges – no one is perfect! If we learn more about ourselves and others in the process, we can learn to focus on our strengths, respect our differences and support each other to build a high performing team,” says Alison.

Let’s take an example of two crew members who, before taking part in a Crew Dynamics profiling workshop, used to really rub each other up the wrong way. One of them has a lot of ‘Blaze’ and ‘Dynamo’ in their profile; they want to bring ideas and people together, are inspiring, optimistic, motivating and excited about new possibilities and what could be achieved. They are like a kite up in the sky, seeing the big picture and reaching for the stars.

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The other has a lot of ‘Steel’ and ‘Tempo’ in their profile and is therefore grounded, sensible and realistic, and able to see the risk and potential pitfalls of an idea. They are much better at estimating time and how long things will take to do. They are like the person on the ground holding the string for the kite, which is just as needed to prevent the kite from flying away. 

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As polar opposites, these two were often at loggerheads, irritated by their differences and finding it impossible to see each others’ point of view. Following the profiling workshop, they were able to see how much they complement each other and how each brings important qualities that the other lacks. They are now working closely together to create a more balanced approach in their thinking and are finding that operations on board are flowing much more easily as a result. 

Alison explains that the basis for the Talent Dynamics system, and one of the differences between this and other profiling tools, is that it is tied to the business model of yachting: “It’s all about trust and flow. Trust brings greater attraction (higher investment and revenues) and flow brings operational efficiency and effectiveness (higher profitability).”

Of course, profit in yachting is not just financial. “By definition, profit is the result of minimizing costs and costs can be far greater than financial. For many owners and guests, time is a more valuable commodity than money, as is happiness and safety” says Alison.

Some profiles are better suited to creating trust (Dynamo and Tempo) and some are better suited to creating flow (Steel and Blaze). When everyone is doing what they enjoy the most, and are most suited to, the whole team is in flow, which gives owners and managers the high performing teams that they want, while crew themselves will have more satisfying and productive careers.

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Forward thinking yacht managers and captains are using strength profiling to better understand the make-up of their existing crew, and a growing number are using it as a recruitment tool, hiring to fill the gaps to build the perfect team.

As an example, if you’re looking for a new captain and know that you need a strong leader, and the ultimate diplomat and networker, an ideal profile for this position would be someone with an even spread of the four energies.  Recruiters can now identify candidates with such a profile by asking applicants to take the online profiling test at the time of application.

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Alison refers to this as “hiring with x-ray vision”. “Why wait three months to see someone’s true capabilities and personality when you can see the strengths and qualities they are likely to bring and how they will fit with the team? Think of everyone’s talent profile as their own piece in the jigsaw. When you’re hiring into a gap it’s important to find a puzzle piece that has the right fit!”

Essential to success on board any yacht is the overall performance of the crew. It’s not enough for crewmembers to have strong individual skills - they need to be able to work efficiently and harmoniously with others, and personality profiling is a useful foundation for building your ideal team. 

Crew Dynamics Optimizing a la carte

Crew Dynamics Optimising a la carte
Because no two teams or yachts are the same, Alison creates bespoke workshops for you and your crew depending on the outcomes you wish to achieve and the time you have available. Modules could include :
Talent Dynamics Team Debrief & Crew Dynamics Workshop
Individual Talent Dynamics Personal Debriefs
Team & Yacht Goal setting and future vision
Departmental Action Planning, Focus & Fine Tuning
Captain & HODs Leadership Synergy Masterclass
Performance Reviews

On a budget or in a hurry?

These workshops are also available to be hosted via Skype. A good internet connection onboard is required for this to be a viable option.
For more information please contact Alison at The Crew Coach.

Related article:
Interior Training: Strive to be the Best

*Image credit: Shutterstock

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