Boys in the Boat! Rowing for Gold

How does a team pull together to compete and win against all odds? This case study will help struggling teams move from challenge to triumph.

What high-performance ingredients will move you from challenge to triumph?

Some of the great team attributes that unlock high performance are loyalty and trust, selflessness, lack of ego, and team selection skills.

In the heart of the Great Depression, a dream is born to build a rowing team that will compete in Hitler’s Olympics. Working-class boys from the American West persevere through a strenuous training regime, coaching, mentoring, facing personal demons, cheating and sheer bad luck, to win gold in Berlin at the 1936 Olympics.

This unlikely team was never expected to defeat the elite teams of the USA, Italy, Great Britain or the Germans… and they showed the world what true grit really meant.

How did this team pull together to outperform the sum of their individuals in the most trying circumstances, beat the odds and win what was considered inconceivable, unbelievable and unachievable?

“It isn’t enough for the muscles of the crew to work in unison; their hearts and minds must also be as one.” – George Pocock

A blueprint for business turnaround, growth, and profit from the core

Ignite team and leadership conversations

  • What would it take to enable each team member to perform to their full potential?
  • How would the team benefit if skills were integrated?
  • How could we identify and overcome performance barriers? Or, as leaders, unlock them?
  • What habits for high performance would bring alignment, synergy, collaboration, trust, loyalty?
  • How would team success be achieved through deliberate practice and mentorship?

Format and Approach

Engage your teams in a multimedia, facilitator-led conversation on Zoom, supported with interactive moderated conversations in breakout rooms (hosted by our team of Pod Coaches).


This case study is available in a 90-minute or 180-minute online (Zoom) format.

How does it work?

  • Contact us to let us know that you want LRMG to share this case study with your team
  • We will work with you to design or customise key conversation and reflection questions
  • Participants will get a link to a pre-case study primer to complete prior to the presentation and conversation
  • Your team will receive our How do I Row? Toolkit as a take-away to ignite further learning and reflection

“What improbable feats can be accomplished when we look beyond ourselves to build an unbeatable team?”

Are you interested in moving your people?

Fill in the form below and we will give you access to this exciting resource

Fill in the form below and we will give you access to this exciting resource

Fill in the form below and we will give you access to this exciting resource

Fill in the form below and we will give you access to this exciting resource.

Fill in the form below and we will give you access to this exciting resource

Fill in the form below and we will give you access to this exciting resource

Fill in the form below and we will give you access to this exciting resource

Fill in the form below and we will give you access to this exciting resource

Fill in the form below and we will give you access to this exciting resource


Career Dreams

Fast track career growth in the new world of work:

Certified learning paths that build relevant skills and competencies

Invigorate your skills development offering:

University-certified online and blended short learning courses

Rapidly improve your scorecard metrics:

B-BBEE (South Africa) and other scorecard solutions

Trusted certification:

Digitally enabled learning solutions supported by dedicated teams of Wits, Queen's University Belfast, UFS and GIBS academics and experience managers

Real-world scarce skills training for youth:

Find, recruit and custom train youth to your demand-led specs, getting them work-ready and employable


We find the talent, match personalities and abilities to your culture fit, and then train them to meet your digital skills needs

Comply with your B-BBEE, transformation and skills levy agenda:

Rapidly improve your scorecard metrics: create a talent pipeline for 4IR, ICT and Tech-future Skills

Work-ready graduates and interns:

We find the candidates (or you find them). We train them to use your technology and digital systems within the defined roles


Sales and Unlock Customer Value

Discover why your customers buy what they buy:

Learn to meet customers’ social, emotional and functional requirements

Activate and strengthen sales team engagement:

Digital sales activation challenges

Cultivate a performance-based sales culture:

Sales leadership and culture solutions

Mobilise the right sales strategy:

Sales strategy validation and optimisation

Accelerate sales pipelines and spark growth:

Customer-centric sales strategy

Grow and sustain critical sales capabilities:

Digital learning content for Sales


People Productivity

Engage for sustainable high performance:

Human capital strategy, learning strategy and transformation

Future-fit your organisation for success:

Learning and talent assessments, talent management and people balance sheet planning

Connect learning journeys to performance outcomes:

Onboarding, talent development and learning mapped to your individual and company needs

Move the needle on learning experiences:

Smart learning and talent experience platforms, tools and digital learning assets

Upskill people with new digital smarts:

Digital learning content (customised or plug-and-play)


A Performance Culture

Talent management:

Make better future-fit data-driven decisions for your talent and organisation

Strategy and change:

Inspire your people to change and ignite their passion to deliver business results

Leadership and culture:

Enable your leadership teams to create their unique brand and to build new high-performance habits and behaviours

Digital transformation:

Enable people processes through digital technologies that transform performance

Talent assessments:

Better understand your people's strengths and your team’s productive habits to compete and win

Performance enablement:

Create a culture of feedback that actively measures performance


Leadership Perspectives

Establish a high-performance culture:

Interactive multimedia inspirational stories

Unlock new thinking and shift mindsets:

More than 13 intriguing true stories of high performance

Empower leaders and teams:

Expertly facilitated moderated conversations

Build new habits for high performance:

Smart toolboxes to activate habits for success