Team Building

The past few days, I’ve been in Southport, NC with my company (Good Health Natural Products) and we conducted our yearly Sales Meeting there at the Wingate Hotel. We had meetings Tuesday and Wednesday from each department of the company and each sales person on future endeavors.

I was kind of excited to go to Southport because my favorite author had written about Southport in his latest book, Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks. It’s a small town near the Cape Fear River. I’m so fortunate to have gone with the company.

On Tuesday after our meeting, we all were schedule to do this team-building exercise. The agenda: SAILING!!! The CEO split the company into three teams and he called the the Gators(mine team and the winners) the cros and the sharks. Each sailboat has a captain and a first mate who where experienced sailors. We ventured off into the Cape Fear River and got a quickie lesson from our captain, Kevin. He worked on Wallstreet for 15 years before moving to Southport to teach people how to sail. He loves sailing!!! It’s his passion so he was an amazing teacher and very patient and helpful. There were four Gators on my team and each of us had to take turn doing each task: steering/driving the boat, in charge of the mail said, and the two jibs.

They told us not to worry and that the boat will not dip and turn over into the water but the first gust of wind we caught, my side of the boat went towards the water and I almost panicked. Luckily I requested a life jacket at all times or I would not have gone on the boat 🙂 Our boat came to so many times going into the water that if all the people were not on the same time as the boat dipped, many of us would have gotten soaked, which is what happened to one of the other boats lol.

My very first task was to steer the boat while everyone else did the harder jobs. Steering took a while to get use to at first. To go left you had to steer right and vise versa. To tact (or to turn the boat around) as the driver I had to move from one side of the boat to the other while the jibbers took turns pulling the ropes to shift the sails. Kevin said I was a natural at driving the boat.

I then had my turn at the mail sail but it was when I got to the jib that I started having trouble. When you tact the boat, the people working with the jib that to simultaneously pull the rope and loosen the ropes on opposite sides of the boat in order for the sail to switch sides. There were plenty of times where I had gotten my jib tangled and I felt bad for doing that but it wasn’t about me. It’s about the team and thank goodness for my team for helping me and guide me on how to do it correctly.

After we got our practice in, it was time to race! It was simple, the first boat down and back wins a prize.

My team was able to grab first place and keep it.  It was then that another team boat caught drift of the wind and sprung ahead of us, winning by a hair.  It was so close.  It was still early so we decided to race again so the winning team could defend their championship.  They declined, afraid to lose the championship so we raced the remaining team and won.  Winners received a wine bottle holder made out of an old sail.  It was then I learned that old sails from sailboats are not thrown away but are always used to make something else.  My captain’s sister made them and she also makes totes!

After eating, we hung out at the pier while we were served a “country down boil.”  We had crab legs, jumbo shrimp, corn on the cob, and so much more delicious food.  I was so glad they boiled everything because I’m not allowed to eat fried foods while on my new diet/workout plan.  The food was delicious!

My team couldn’t have won if there was not constant communication and an effort to work as a team.  It is hard to sail a boat, or even run a business alone but if you have a team working together to acheive the same goal, then everything will come to you. As the motto of my middle school once was, “Teamwork makes the dream work.”

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Author: Cassandra Williams

Public relations and marketing professional. Subscribe to share my journey to fulfilling my dreams as a marketing and public relations professional.

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