Mission Performance credits team and aims to use crew lessons to inspire future crew generations

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The founders of UK-based Learning and Development consultancy, Mission Performance personally understand the tough mental focus, stamina and team work that is required to compete in such challenging conditions. 

Defined as “practitioners, not professors,” founding partners Rob Lewis and Christiaan McLeod, both ex Royal Marine Officers, lead a consulting team which includes elite mountaineers and sports men and women and decorated soldiers and both men have personally led race winning expeditions to the North Pole.

During the past ten months, the company has acted as support network to the Mission Performance Clipper Race team, led by skipper Matt Mitchell as it strived to achieve its circumnavigation goal. An achievement less people in the world have completed than have climbed Everest.  

As well as being a team sponsor, Mission Performance is the learning and development partner for the Clipper Race. Just like its work with international corporations, the company has worked closely with officials, crew and skippers in ports during every stopover to analyse how individuals and teams learn and develop together and how they can best build and inspire positive team performance. 

Welcoming the team home to London’s St Katharine Docks, Rob Lewis stated proudly: “To sail around the world is an extraordinary accomplishment and one all our crew should feel so incredibly proud of. 

“We at Mission Performance have lived and breathed their exciting journey at every step and have all been so impressed at the crew’s ability to overcome adversity and work as a team to achieve their goals. It has been incredibly exciting and rewarding for us to watch these fine individuals grow and develop together and return home as experienced explorers. Congratulations to all the crew on a fantastic team achievement.”

One person who is certainly taking some positive personal lessons from her experience is 19-year-old Sophie Hetherton, Mission Performance crew member, and the youngest ever person to complete the Clipper Race. 

Commenting on the race experience, Sophie said: “I still find it hard to believe what we’ve just done. Last year when the race started, I was 18, just out of school and had never really done anything to challenge myself. I made myself an early promise to embrace every aspect of the experience and immerse myself fully.

“Sailing the world and interacting so much with a wide range of ages, backgrounds and personalities on board was an incredible life experience for me. We never had conflict on our boat, our skipper Matt taught us to communicate openly every day which helped us all develop great respect for each other and I always felt equal and valued.

“I would love to inspire more young people like myself to do the Clipper Race. Aside from being a huge adventure, it is an incredible life development experience that I highly recommend. I’ve learnt how to communicate with people of all ages and work with them as a team to cope with very challenging situations. My confidence has grown huge amounts and I know, going forward to University and beyond, that I will take these life lessons with me.”

Continuing its learning and development objective on a wider level, Mission Performance is appealing to all past Clipper Race crew members to submit their “One Key Lesson” learnt.

Mission Performance and Clipper Ventures will use the submissions in a “One Key Lesson” book of a book with inspiring and daunting stories about the 'human' aspects of the race; why did teams perform, how did people get through their 'darkest moments', how did leaders inspire?’ The aim is to inspire future Clipper Race crew on the human aspects that affect and develop performance levels, rather than give advice on any physical mechanics or equipment tips.

Send your accounts of how your crew best worked together and the rules your team employed to complete the Clipper Race to [email protected].

All profits will be used for a Clipper Race related charitable cause which will be announced at the time of publishing.