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An Olympians perspective on the importance of teamwork

Team Up Events

We recently took some time to sit down with Team Up Events Sales & Event Executive, Julia Edward, to discuss her perspective on the importance of team work. Julia joined Team Up Events in January 2017 fresh off the water following back to back Olympic Campaigns in London (2012) and Rio (2016) rowing for New Zealand. Through this period Julia was also crowned World Champion in 2014 & 2015 in the Double Light Weight Sculls at the World Rowing Championships held in the Netherlands and France respectively. Here’s Julia thoughts on the role of team work in achieving success.

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An Olympians perspective on the importance of teamwork

Now that you have stepped off the water and into the corporate workplace, what similarities do you see between teams in the elite sports environment, and teams within the NZ workplace?

“There are a lot more similarities than people may first think. While it would be easy to assume that as rowers, success was purely down to the athletes in the boat, there was actually a much wider team which contributed to and impacted the performances on the water.  For example, within our NZ Rowing team there were coaches, nutritionists, physiologist, massage therapists, physiotherapists, and managers to name a few, all of which performed specialised roles which contributed to the performance of the athletes on the water. It was critical that every member of the team was on the same page, that we all appreciated the importance of our roles, and understood how each member contributed to our success or failure as a team.”

“Having the opportunity to observe and deliver a number of team building events in my time at Team Up so far, there has been one really common similarity that I can see when reflecting on my time in the elite sports environment. The importance for workplace teams to create a culture where each members role is valued, and the contribution of all members of the team is clearly aligned to the organisations ability to achieve its goals is critical. While we as rowers may have been in the spotlight position of standing on the podium when success was achieved, this would not have been possible without each team member understanding their role and the impact their contribution had our performance. For NZ work place teams it is equally important to ensure that every employee understands their individual importance and collective value in enabling the organisation (or team) to achieve its goals.”

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What impact have you seen for our clients from Team Up Events team building programmes?

“I am continually impressed with the change in mood, attitude, and spirit within organisations who participate in our events from the beginning to the end. This only highlights the importance of facilitating opportunities for employees and teams to spend worthwhile time with each other in an environment outside the four walls of the day to day workplace. For events where key learning objectives, business specific content, or conference messages have been incorporated into the team building programme the impact for the organisation has been amplified!  These events create a strong and clear alignment of employees with the goals of the organisation. Combining these elements with a well structured and professionally delivered team building event can have a significant impact on team culture and the positive development of inter-personal relationships all within the duration of an event. It certainly reinforces the quote “You learn more about a person in an hour or play than a life time of conversation.”

“You cannot underestimate the importance of developing workplace culture and building positive employee relationships, these are fundamental components to enable teams to not only achieve success but also overcome the setbacks, obstacles, and challenges that they may face in day to day business.  When I reflect on some of the tougher times through my rowing career, it was certainly the personal relationships within the wider team which enabled us to push through and achieve success. There were undoubtedly times where the conditions were tough, or we were fatigued from travel or double sessions for example, but it was the camaraderie within the team, the strength of our culture, and the refusal to let each other down that kept us going towards our goals.”


What advice would you give to those looking to develop team culture within their organisation?

“Make the development of your team workplace culture a priority! As I have mentioned previously you cannot undervalue or underestimate the influence of factors such as clearly defined roles within the team, all team members understanding how each role contributes to the organisations overall success, and of course the importance of building positive inter-personal relationships and culture amongst team members. For me these are some of the key ingredients if you want your team and business to be successful – they were certainly all key elements in building the culture and success of our Rowing Team in qualifying for two Olympic Campaigns and winning back to back World Championships in 2014 and 2015.”

Julia Edward Team Up Events

For more information about Team Up Events range of leading edge and internationally proven Team Building Events contact one of our offices today on 0800 832 689 or submit an enquiry by clicking here.