:: Corporate Team Building & Sailing


Trainer Tony Legg charts new waters
Leela de Kretser 03 Dec 03

Corporate Trainer and Team Builder

LEARNING port from starboard and reaching consensus about which is which, will be the latest craze in corporate team building if Tony Legg has anything to do with it.

A former Outdoor Education teacher and sports trainer, the corporate mentor has taken to the not-so-high seas of the Victoria Harbour - the Melbourne Docklands in order to help businesses understand the value of teamwork.

He is a director of Sea Leggs Sailing and Corporate Team Building, a division of the Docklands Sailing School. His hands-on courses give staff the chance to push themselves at the same time as learning to rely on each other.

"Sailing develops attributes like respect, co-operation, independence but also, interdependence," Mr Legg said.

"In many workplaces there's an implied hierarchy of the manager or supervisor always leading the way, solving the problems and dictating to their subordinates the workplace processes. They often discount the value other team members can make and disempower rather than empower staff."

"But on a sailing boat, just because you have the helm doesn't mean it's going to work well. You're just as reliant on the people letting the ropes off as you are reliant those winching in the sails"

Mr Legg and workplace psychologist Ross Anderson adapt the day's sailing to individual company needs.

Events can range from just learning to sail and working as a team with the Day on the Bay program, through to team racing.

Mr Legg concedes ensuring one person doesn't dominate is an important challenge.

"How people accept direction, comments or criticism is part of the challenge of sailing and managing companies," he said.

"We talk about these things in relation to the profile of the individual company and how they come out in the intensity of a sailing boat."

He believes sailing also mirrors the business environment in that each face external fluctuations.

"You are working with conditions that fluctuate and change. Sailing because of the wind and the weather," he said.

"You can't just say I'm going from A to D this way every time. You have to look at the conditions and work the best route."

He also believes his program offers managers more than a fun day out.

"This is not just about pushing yourself physically. It's about setting up a situation, which tests a workplace's ability to be a team," he said.

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