Dan is a former US international athlete, coach and was first famous for being part of the “Oxford Mutiny” of 1987. He now builds high performing teams based on the principles he learned from rowing.
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Timestamps to the show
02:15 Background in rowing at Navy and 1988 Olympic team for USA
05:00 When is a rower “ready” to move the the next stage? Cultivate a belief system in yourself and a vision that you are capable of taking those steps.
07:00 Trialing with Harry Parker at Princeton for the 1980 Olympics
When you have the opportunity to bring someone to a higher level, you have to take it.
11:00 Seat Racing – when you switch in this is YOUR crew. What is the rhythm? Announce yourself and ask what are you emphasising? Lock your gaze onto the back of the neck of the person in front. It’s all about alignment.
17:00 Rowing at Oxford with 4 other US international calibre athletes. Most were stroke side but the President was also strokeside and had effectively selected himself out of the boat. Dan Topolski wasn’t there all the time – 2 week rotations. There was also a telephone workers strike so we couldn’t phone each other. We were used to having more direction from a coach. Tony Ward asked Dan to stand up for them and so they went to see Donald Macdonald the President – he called this a mutiny.
23:50 Communication is key. We could have solved this – the entire crew should have been brought together. This would have prevented the factions forming. Vital to meet regularly.
29:00 Tongue blade boards. At the Naval Academy this is how they do the crew assignments. Coach Ken Dreyfuss gave me my tongue blade with the exclamation point on it.
33:00 If I had been thinking individual glory, my path would have been very different. The team strives together. Team Concepts is workin to overcome what divides us. Focus instead on what we have in common.
37:00 Where to start with a new team? Start with Mission and Purpose. Align that and then everyone wants to feel valued. Enable the effort. Gives the base motivation to give import to what they are doing.
42:00 Rowers align around a large set of commonalities. Bridge the issues that divide us in society using my new project the Phoenix Initiative. We create teams for economic value to create organisations and businesses tied to the issues that divide us.
46:00 Citizens Councils like the Irish ones on abortion and gay marriage. The determining factor is commitment from the leadership. They are reliant on energy which if they get it from divisiveness, this gives then more energy.