Community   /   To Lead is To Trust

The latest edition of the programme “Sailing with a CEO” – part of the course Team Management II – took place on the 21st and 22nd of July, at Douro Marina. A “unique experience” for The Magellan MBA students that had the opportunity to exercise their leadership and team work skills through sailing. Joining the students in this endeavour, as well as providing assistance and guidance, were CEOs from major Portuguese companies.

The 7 key skills for the leadership of the future

Whether it is on a personal or professional level, the benefit of experience is extremely significant for decision making. Porto Business School incorporates this belief into its programmes whenever possible.

Thus, Porto Business School promotes experiences outside the classroom. It encourages its students to experience knowledge in real life situations. It challenges them to develop soft skills in differentiated, and sometimes uncomfortable, environments.

The course, Team Management II of the Magellan MBA programme, sets the perfect example.

The goal of this initiative is for “participants to learn how to exercise individual and group skills. Sailing is the best way to do this. Everyone has a job in the boat and the team must believe that everyone is doing their role and that if anything goes wrong, they immediately get it, and try to solve it”, shares Margarida Pedrosa, instructor of the Team Management II course. “When participants acquire this team spirit and mutual trust, the results are always positive. That’s what we want to instil with this activity”.

This course is divided into 3 key moments:

– Preparation session, in which participants gather information and get acquainted with the concepts of navigation;
– Navigation exercises in competitive environment with professional tutors;
– the final day, in which they sail, competitively, under the guidance of a CEO. By the end of the day, the CEO leads the debriefing and analysis session, helping the students to be aware of their leadership and communication style, the effectiveness of their teamwork, and the most relevant aspects of their performance.

Leadership, Trust and Competitiveness

After the 2-day adventure, the experience and satisfaction of all who participate in this imitative is clear.
For Manuela Marques, CEO at Ibersol, “these kinds of initiatives are always good. It is a gratifying experience. It enhances team work outside traditional management environments and highlights what team work is like in tough environments. And then, there’s the Leadership part. And, here, the skippers are a good example. Always motivating, calling attention to what is not being done so well and what should be improved. And then, there’s that moment where we share Information. I think the students leave with a different vision”.

For Sheila Bila, Magellan MBA student, the sense of trust is important. “Whether it’s here or in an organisation there’s always team work involved. But here we confirm the importance of trust. In an organisation, everyone can help their colleagues in their daily tasks and even interfere, but on a sailing boat, that’s not possible. Each one of us has their role and no one can interfere. Although we are a team, each one has a very specific role. We must trust that everyone is doing their job. It changed the way I look at things”.

Pedro Pires de Lima, sailing consultant, sailor, entrepreneur and Porto Business School alumnus, highlights the enormous competition that exist in these sailing races. “We do these types of races with several different entities and we notice quite clearly with Porto Business School that participants are very competitive. It is a healthy competitiveness that develops strong qualities”.

“The feed-back we get from participants is very positive. Participants say it is the event of a lifetime, because it helps create bonds between them, as team. It’s a day to remember, it enhances their competitive spirit and helps to build up their personality”, says Margarida Pedrosa.