TMMBA teamwork: Reflections on the water

On the Water

On a Sunday afternoon in late September, TMMBA Class 16 students found themselves on the waters of Lake Union to put their teamwork skills to the test. The cohort participated in the inaugural TMMBA Leadership & Teamwork Practicum – a special opportunity at the Pocock Rowing Center where students learned to row as a team and experienced the importance of bonding, organizing and working in unison.  Not only was the event a great hands-on opportunity for students to see teamwork in action, but it was a beautiful afternoon for many students to try out rowing for the first time.


The Leadership & Teamwork Practicum kicked off the 2nd half of the Program and marked a changing of the guard for the students – everyone was assigned to a new study group of 4-5 classmates that they’ll work with for the remainder of the TMMBA Program. So, the rowing day was appropriately timed so the new teams could get off on the right foot and have the frameworks to succeed as they move forward with their upcoming coursework and projects.


To add to the significance to the day, the Pocock Rowing Center holds a special legacy at UW and Seattle. The facility is named after George Pocock, a master boat builder and unofficial assistant coach/advisor to the UW crew team. Pocock built shells for numerous UW crew teams, including the famous “Boys in the Boat” team who won gold in the 1936 Olympic Games. Not only was Pocock known for his master craftsman skills but also for his embodiment of modesty and unparalleled understanding of the relationship between rowing and teamwork – lessons the TMMBA students took to heart.

Harmony. Balance. Rhythm. There you have it. That’s what life is all about.
~ George Pocock

The rowing activity was also paired with a classroom component, delivered by the Center for Leadership and Strategic Thinking (CLST), to solidify the teamwork concepts. Students learned about the BOAT Model of Teamwork – a model to discern important skills that successful teams need to possess:

  • B=Bonded (liking, belonging, trust respect, cohesion)
  • O= Organized (norms, planning, roles, structure, mission)
  • A= Adapted (shared mental models, flexibility, reflective, transparency)
  • T = Team-Minded (potency, ownership, identity, cohesion, pride)

The new study groups also established team charters to solidify these concepts as they move forward with the Program.


Though it’s not likely that we’ll see a future TMMBA rowing Olympian as a result of the activity, there’s no doubt that the students approached this unique opportunity with a positive attitude and gained lessons on the water that they’ll be able to directly apply to their new study group. Ready all?

By Mikaela Boyd
TMMBA Associate Director

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