I’ve just been given the new vision from one of the divisions of a large aerospace business entitled “By 2025 we need to be able to predict the future? There are massive challenges in the defence business, not least from who or what are we fighting. Competition from the tech companies is huge and we need to be faster”.

How can we use our best technology, speed and agility to stay ahead of the wave and at the same time cope with the increased risks of people not being able to cope with the pressure?

When I look at the advances in technology across the sailing world over the last 30 years there are some interesting parallels. In 1973, the US Department of Defence created the GPS positioning system and in 1980 made it available to anyone with a GPS receiver. Before that time, offshore Navigators spent much of their time trying to answer the question “Where are we?” Fast forward and we are no longer concerned with “where we are?”, the question for navigators is “Where do we want to be?” The challenge is now preparing the team and the “boat” for what lies ahead.

Technology has not only made boats much faster, but with accurate weather modelling, access to real-time performance data and highly developed simulation tools we can determine not only where we need to be, but crucially peak our performance to ensure we get there.

It’s fascinating to hear the current Skipper’s of the Volvo Ocean Race, who are about to set off on the longest and most challenging Southern Ocean leg, talking about the importance of peaking when it comes to performance.

So what can we learn?

  • Experienced leaders know when to ensure their teams peak at crucial moments and also the importance of rest, recovery and down time.
  • Teams need a greater number of leaders, who are able to inject pace and support at critical moments in the game.
  • Technology helps us predict the future, simulation and practice prepare us for what is to come.

Conrad Humphreys is an experienced keynote speaker who has spent over two decades as a professional yachtsman. Find out more at conradhumphreys.com

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