Working In Sync
Thirty years ago, eleven young freshman decided to train for Crew, or the Dartmouth rowing team. Together they became a team their coach recognized as something extraordinarily special. Twenty-five years later, these eleven men reunited with their coach, Whit Mitchell, who was struck by how each man had become extremely successful by using the lessons he had internalized from his grueling crew workouts. Readers are introduced to this rowing crew and shown how that experience translated into lessons applicable to all who want to improve their leadership skills.
This book is interesting and easy to read; each chapter begin with a short biography of the crew member, including his current profession and past leadership roles. The author/coach then shares an anecdote about the young man’s crew training, and how it translated to skills, such as Faith, Integrity, Personal Values, and Team Input, useful in his later career. The crew member reflects on his crew experience, and finally the coach gives suggestions to readers on how to apply crew’s experience to his or her own leadership role.
I really enjoyed the aggregate impact of these stories. The book can be dipped into at any point, but there is a nice overall build that grows from personal lessons to team to larger world impact, which is impressive when the book is read cover to cover. The personal stories of the team members were inspiring as they applied their own lessons to their careers and later life.
The author is a little too careful to include quotes from his team that praised his own coaching skills; I also would prefer more depth and detail from the athletes themselves about why they felt crew had been so important to them. A few of the lessons feel a little forced, which was a shame, because with a little more detail, the lessons would be absolutely clear on their own. The takeaway messages speak for themselves, and the author doesn’t need to expound on them. These are small flaws, however. This book tries to be both a ‘learn from inspiring stories’ and a ‘leadership how-to’, and that is a lot to cram into one slim volume; but the lessons are valid and helpful, and the stories are entertaining and inspiring, so although either aspect could benefit by expansion, either way it is a good read.
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