Teamwork In Adventure Racing (Part Five of GODZone - What’s The Plan?)
Nathan Fa'avae / 27.04.2020
Given most of us have spare time at present, if you haven’t seen the documentary ‘For The Team’, produced by WinShape Teams, it’s worth a watch as it encapsulates my teamwork values and principles. (You can see it at the end of this article.)
As an overview, the first step in teamwork is building the team. You need to make sure the people you are racing with are people you can trust, people with respect, people who will be willing to put the team before self. It’s crucial that the team has a common goal that is communicated and agreed upon long before the race start.
Once the race is underway, it’s then vital for the success of the team for the members to have open honesty without ego. People need to be trusted to ask for help if they are struggling, to accept that everyone will have highs and lows, and that helping each other through those times is what makes a performing team. Team decisions need to be shared so everyone buys into them, most likely facilitated by the captain. A team must have fun together, enjoy the adventure and everything that comes with it.
For me as a team captain the most important value is composure. It’s said in an adventure the thing you haven’t prepared for is coming right your way. Therefore, how you deal and respond to that is hugely important. As a team captain, if you lose your cool, that will unsettle and rattle the team, it’ll be a distraction from the primary goal. But if you can stay composed in the face of controversy or conflict, act swiftly to solve the problem at hand, the team will rise and grow stronger.
My mantra while racing is ‘nothing will shock me’. And believe me when I say we’ve had some epic challenges to overcome out there racing. I’m no saint myself, I can get frustrated and annoyed about things, but the question I ask myself before saying anything, or acting in a particular way, is ‘how is this helpful?’.
If what you’re thinking of saying isn’t going to be helping a situation, don’t say it. Stay calm, think carefully, be gentle. I make mistakes, others make mistakes.
Read the next article on 'Strategy in Adventure Racing' here.
Nathan Fa'avae is the captain of Team Avaya (formerly Team Seagate) and 6x Adventure Racing World Champion. He is also a Race Director of the Spring Challenge and Absolute Widerness Adventure races in New Zealand, and a co-owner of Absolute Wilderness Freeze Dried Foods. You can find out more about him at https://nathanfaavae.nz/