Does it make the boat go faster?

Last week we had our annual Thought Leaders Global Partners retreat. This year it was in Bali. If ever there was a great example of doing work you love with people you like in the way you want, this was it.

One of my big take-aways came from the brilliant Michael Henderson.

He told the story about the New Zealand America’s Cup Team who referred every decision they made back to one question, “does it make the boat go faster”. So if there was dissension in the team and someone suggested a team building day, they would ask “will it make the boat go faster?”. And if not, no team building day.


(According to the internet, exactly the same thing happened with a British rowing team, but all good things start in NZ, so I’m sure they stole the idea from the NZ sailors.)

Regardless of where it came from, I think it’s brilliant. What is the one KPI that you can refer all decisions too?

The obvious answer is “does this generate shareholder value?” or “does this increase profits?”. I don’t think that’s quite it. I think it needs to be one level down from that. Our Kiwi friends didn’t ask “will it help us with the America’s Cup?”, but “does it make the boat go faster?”. Obviously going faster will help achieve the ultimate goal of winning the America’s Cup.

For me in my practice right now, my “does it make the boat go faster?” question is “is this enabling me to get well paid to do work I love with people I like in the way I want”.

Love to hear your question, and your thoughts? You can leave them below.