Making the Most of the Off Season

The Islander – March 2019

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80% of learning occurs on the job

The pre-season period is considered by some as ‘downtime’; Christmas has been and gone and the ‘crazy season’ of back to back charters is a mere memory.  Your work list is ticking over, and things are generally looking pretty ship shape.

BUT, are you making the most of this window of opportunity?

Many people use this time to undertake the mandatory courses that help them to progress along the career ladder. Yet one of the biggest complaints we hear from senior crew, is that newly qualified Officers have all the tickets, but lack real experience and the ability to transfer theory into practical application. They have crammed all the knowledge and passed exams, but when they step back on board they are not ready to step up.

80% of learning occurs on the job, so using the quiet time is the perfect opportunity to invest in your crew, call it training, mentoring, coaching, leading; helping crew to apply the newly acquired skills and knowledge is key to bridging the gap from classroom to on board operations, whatever the level.

Tips for Developing Crew

  • Set them a small assignment, where information has to be researched and presented back to the team.
  • Part of the research assignment can be to find YouTube clips of right and wrong ways of doing things – we recall far more of what we see.
  • Run quizzes – share out the writing of the questions.
  • Work shadow someone senior / or junior! / or even from another department.
  • Invite a supplier aboard to present to the crew.
  • Keep it fun and interactive – this helps with memory retention.

Management Tool: 1:1s

Dedicating just 30 minutes of uninterrupted 1:1 time, can be invaluable. By asking open questions you can gauge their progress and what their next steps should be.  If they are looking to move up, even if you are not able to offer them the promotion, you can still help them to start preparing for that next position and gain the practical experience that they need.

Meet regularly to see how they are progressing (at least once a month) and use an agenda such as the sample below. In time everyone will know what is expected from them and they will come prepared.  Those 30 minutes of exclusive time with you talking about themselves, helps individuals to feel valued and in turn motivated – how important is that?!

Sample 1:1 Agenda

  • What has been working well? (add your feedback afterwards)
  • What has not worked so well? (add your feedback – if necessary)
  • Progress – towards specific goals (no more than 3 at any time)
    • What will help them move forward?
    • What support do they need from you?
  • What will they do before your next meeting?
  • Summarise all action points and they should leave feeling positive

Encourage them to drive the agenda.  Every few 1:1’s discuss their career and progress.  If there is a performance or attitude issue, deal with it early and give the constructive feedback.  Don’t forget to be a good listener and be as open and honest as you can.  We recommend that the meeting is documented – ask them to e-mail you a summary, which will strengthen their ownership of the process and action points, as well as save you time!

Even if you are helping them to move on and find that next job, give them your support - you’ll have the added bonus of truly understanding why they left.  You never know, they may help you find their replacement and train them up too!

Impact Crew is here to help you on your leadership journey. Call us to find out how we can bring leadership and management tips and tools to your yacht and crew.