News & Views

New Blog Post Series: Three Habits of a Successful Team

27 February 2019

Author: Silja Kanerva


Six and a half years have passed since our team of three women stepped on the podium in the London Olympics. Now, nearly three years into full-time work life, it seems like a good time to reflect on the lessons learned during the intensive years of Olympic sailing. In the blog series to follow, I will explore a few key elements of teamwork that helped us succeed when it mattered the most. I will be sharing my experiences from our Olympic campaign in match racing for London 2012, lived through with my utmost talented and ambitious team members, Silja Frost (née Lehtinen) and Mikaela Wulff. I have also gained priceless experience from my other Olympic projects, especially the most recent one aiming for Rio with Sinem Kurtbay. All the experiences integrate to the best practices laid out in the coming blog series, but for the sake of simplicity, I will refer to the London project only.

Of all the significant building blocks to our success, the blog series will focus on teamwork and dynamics, which I believe were one of our biggest assets in the tough competition. Our official goal was to medal in London, which we did, but the medals were quickly forgotten in our drawers. What has not been forgotten, however, is what the working methods helped us gain in addition to the medal:  self-awareness, discipline, communication skills, and lifelong friendships. The process turned out to be successful but also more valuable in the long run than the original target.

The blog series will consist of three parts: The Art of Dividing Tasks, The Secrets of Continuous Development, and How to Build a Solid Team Spirit. Stay tuned during the upcoming weeks to find out one point of view into the learnings that have also continued to help me in my current job even after my professional athlete career.

Silja Kanerva was a professional athlete in Olympic sailing, winning the World Championships and Olympic bronze in match racing in 2012.