“We are essentially trying to fly a boat with no engine.”  These are the words of America’s Cup Oracle Team USA skipper Jimmy Spithill.  He would know.  The licensed pilot captains a vessel which can reach speeds in excess of 60 mph.

In the May 25th edition of USA Today, Spithill discussed just some of the reasons why the USA team performs at a championship level.  Regardless of whether you lead a church, business, non-profit, academic institution, or athletic organization, these lessons can make you better.

The following are 5 Habits Of Highly Successful Teams we learn from Skipper Jimmy Spithill and the USA America’s Cup team:

  1. Highly Successful Teams Are Made Up Of People Who Put Their Team First – Spithill siad, “I don’t like letting people down, that’s for sure.  I’ve always been a fan of special forces.  They have a similar mantra: ‘You don’t let your brother down.’   In our case, you don’t let your teammate down.  That’s motivating.  You put the team first and yourself second.”
  2. Highly Successful Teams Are Made Up Of People Who Make Their Teammates Better – A leader’s success is always found in the success of the people they serve.  Spithill added, “I just draw on the strength from my teammates.  I’m fortunate I work with people who are a lot better than me.  That forces me to work harder.”
  3. Highly Successful Teams Prioritize Daily Decision-Making Over Big Events – Your success as a leader is found in your daily agenda.  We over-estimate the significance of big moments and under-estimate the power of basic faithfulness.  Spithill noted, “The America’s Cup is traditionally won by the team that hits a whole bunch of singles and very few home runs and just pounds everybody by little things.  All the right decisions add up to a home run.”
  4. Highly Successful Teams Continually Add Young Talent Who Are Hungry – Spithill noted, “You need new energy and new creativity coming in.  Certainly this is the youngest team we’ve ever had.  I think it’s a reflection of the physical demands.  I think having a younger team, there’s definitely a lot of hunger out there.”
  5. Highly Successful Teams Hire Mentally, Emotionally And Physically Healthy People – The Oracle team features among others an Olympic gold medalist in sailing, an Australian Ironman champion, and a four-time All-American sailor from Georgetown.  NBC analyst Ken Read said, “They’re at a fitness level that the sport of sailing has never seen.”

What is one thing you learned from this list which will make you a better leader?


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