Jordana here, LCI’s Account Coordinator / Office Manager.
Success in PR, much like the rest of the business world, is predicated on working successfully as a team. Nowhere is that more true than on the agency side, where an account team must work together seamlessly to get positive results for the client.
And where can we learn good teambuilding skills? Not only at work – but also at home. We’re never too old to learn to work together, as my family learned this past weekend. I spent Saturday with my immediate family and a handful of soon-to-be family members on a whirlwind Napa River boating adventure. Growing up, it was always mom, dad and three girls – explorers extraordinaire. As we’ve grown, new possible family members have been introduced (though not all have made the cut). What a better way to weed out the weak than an everything-goes-wrong, surprise-filled day on the boat with dad?
So, I, my father, his girlfriend, my sister, our fiancés (the lucky two who made it all the way to the Frishman-family finals) and two dogs set out to conquer the salty Napa River, or at least some striped bass (conditions permitting). We had no idea we were about to embark on a turbulent day of perfectly crafted, yet somehow not at all planned, team-building exercises in survival.
Equipped with a sandwich-filled cooler (don’t forget the watermelon slices!), and enough beers to quench our thirsts, we boarded my dad’s 20-foot, Boston Whaler-style fishing boat, dogs in tow. After launching, we zipped along the river at about 35 miles per hour. It became clearer to me as freezing flecks of salty water flung at me from below — this would not be the perfect day of sun tanning I had envisioned!
After a few “How-much-furthers?” were whimpered over the bellowing engine and splashing waves, my dad slowed us to a stop. Just after a passing below a massive concrete bridge, he kicked off the engine. Before we could drop our anchor, we came to the realization that the wind and river current were pulling our boat back to that concrete bridge faster than we could anchor. Positioning ourselves for a collision, all hands on deck reached out to push against the concrete wall and thrust our boat to safety. Narrowly escaping a boat-meets-bridge collision, my dad attempted to restart the boat’s main engine to get back to where we could again drop anchor. His attempt failed.
Several attempts later, now anchored and freezing in the shade of the towering concrete mass overhead, we sank into panic mode. Charged with the group’s survival, we each began spouting any suggestions we could think of to solve our dilemma. Could it be the starter? Are we out of gas? Do we need to replace the battery? None of these were our solution.
It was time for Plan B: Manually rev the 25-horse-power back-up “trolling” engine into gear – a mere dwarf that sits adjacent to the boat’s main one. Miraculously, that little engine led us out of the dark, literally. Once in the sun again, we began to rejoice. Cheers and high-fives were passed all around. But, as we tried to pull the anchor back up, we found it to stubbornly non-obliging to our pleas.
Our anchor had caught the edge of some unknown force below the water. Already in survival mode, we effortlessly switched our thinking caps back to on. Solution: We needed to pull forward to dislodge our anchor, then proceed to hoist it back up to the boat. Once hoisted, we couldn’t help but laugh at the irony that was our misfortune: our anchor had been caught by another (severed) anchor and pulled its rusty new friend up to our boat with it. They were hooked together like monkeys in a barrel!
After a much-needed lunch break, we rigged our fishing poles and began to troll the waters at the break-necking pace of 5 miles per hour. We edged dangerously close to a grassy riverbank before realizing that our steering power was cut dramatically in the switch from main to trolling engine. We pushed against the river bank, only to thrust forward into a tiny canal between two long patches of grass. Once again, we were stuck.
It was time for Plan C: A passenger in the front mans the steering wheel while a back passenger manually steers the engine. This can be tricky for those who have not manually steered a trolling engine, because you can very easily over compensate (which we did….many times). Meanwhile, all fishing lines became tangled in the fray.
When we emerged from the grass and muck, fishing lines cut, we decided It was time for Plan D: Head home. After arriving safely and in one piece, we looked around at our team and thought, “We’ll make a great family.”
In PR, strong teambuilding skills are key when creating and implementing successful campaigns. As they say, all hands on deck!
For a fun way to get away with your family this month, head to NatureBridge’s Headlands Institute for a family hike and an evening campfire with ‘smores!