Why Row with WYRA?

Why Join the WYRA Crew...

Rowing Teaches 10 Lessons on Teamwork, Focus, and Execution!

Lesson 1: A great team must share a vision. As a team member, it is your responsibility to impart this to your team. To inspire them to want to bring this vision to come to fruition regardless of the challenges ahead. When you can create that kind of shared, aligned sense of vision among a team of like-minded and talented people, greatness follows.

Lesson 2: Overcoming adversity makes the team stronger. Fans of HBO’s Silicon Valley might liken this to Gavin Belson, CEO of Google look-alike Hooli, trying to convince the board that “failure = success.” But we also all know this to be true. No great success happens without rising to overcome challenges. Each time a team does this, they get better and better. Especially when you set out to accomplish big things at the start.

Lesson 3: Excellence comes from focus. Anyone who has ever rowed will back this up. When you take time to glance at the crew next to you to see if you are beating them, you lose. It throws off the balance of the boat. MIB, “Mind In Boat.” It holds true in business too. Keep your eyes on what you’re doing. When you think too much about your rivals, you risk second-guessing your own path to greatness.

Lesson 4: Don’t micromanage. Provide guidance, inspiration, leadership at the start and whenever neces­sary. But be willing to accept input from your team members. Let them push themselves to their own limits.

Lesson 5: Empower your team with the courage to change strategy. Change is the one true constant in business. Having defined processes in place to effectively manage change can help companies sustain success.

Lesson 6: Hold people accountable. Once you set your plan in motion, hold people responsible. Account­ability is highly correlated with strong strategy execution. Reward them if they deliver. If they can’t, replace them with someone who can. Rowing introduces you to ‘seat races’ where two boats race, stopping to trade rowers to see who makes the boat go faster. When you find out, they win the seat. That’s how high performance teams are created.

Lesson 7: Plan, execute, monitor, repeat. A team that plans well, and executes well against plan, becomes a well-oiled machine destined to achieve objectives and win repeatedly. When you build and empower a team to do this, there is no limit to what they can achieve working together.

Lesson 8: Goals must be aligned across the entire team. This is true in many team sports. Anyone who can’t see or support the shared vision or goal can bring the entire team down with them. But when there is true transparency, and when they realize that all the other members of the team are aligned and counting on one another, it brings out the best in each member of the team.

Lesson 9: Goals must transcend attainment of individual glory. It is fine to want to receive rewards. But the path to victory is faster when people have a larger goal in mind. When you wish to be the best at something first, the glory follows. The reverse of this story is not often so certain.

Lesson 10: Let it run. There is a great Zen-like experience in rowing called the run. It occurs when a crew rowing at full speed stops rowing suddenly and holds their oars just above water level and lets the boat glide. A great crew will find their boat runs like it’s flying. The experience translates well to life. When a leader empowers their team to be their best, and then steps out of the way to let them do it, great things happen as a result.

Rowing in particular is a transformative sport for young athletes because it facilitates social and emotional learning.

Every practice demands personal accountability, self-management, and conflict resolution, and these life skills positively impact numerous aspects of life off the water.

When student-athletes — who are uniquely willing to try new things — discover that rowing is not only fun but also a reliable way to make friends and find ongoing support, they are more likely to stay engaged and become lifelong athletes with highly developed life skills.

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