Better than Bristol Fashion

I made up a new word. English let’s you do that .

I’ve been working on the toughest project of my life, and it’s been scooping me out. At the same time I’ve been getting excellent teamwork.

It’s not just the teamwork. Kindergartners know that word.

The people I have been working with have practiced


That’s my word. And to underline this idea, I have coincidentally been reading Two Years Before the Mast by Richard Henry Dana. My daughter’s been reading a children’s version for school. She was telling me about it, excited to learn about sailors’ life.

At last! I could read a book with her. I picked it up this week and have been swimming in the metaphors and vocabulary of the middle 1800s.

Veronica is telling me she wants to try salt beef. Me too!

Dana’s book is famous not just because it’s a good book–which it is–but also because it formed a basis for a reorganization of the rights of sailors.

He talks about the hard work of the sailors from an American perspective. Living all together, eating together and working together is a whole lot of togetherness.

And it is understood that a sailor should always have work to do. There was no doubt that every single one of the crew on the ship had opinions of one another’s skills in any of their tasks. They had very repetitive tasks. And when one of them took their work easy, it made another’s work harder.

Dana talks about how the captain and the mates would keep the crews in line, bawling the out to keep it all moving and on task.

In a well-run ship, everyone knew their work and did it. But the mates kept the standards.

I don’t work on a ship. Here in the 21st century, we have a different sort of work model. Yet the concept of each person knowing their work and doing it remains.

That’s the teamsmanship I was experiencing. All the people involved were in this were leaning in. I didn’t have to chase anyone down. My team was fully engaged in completing their task to the best of their ability, and communicating with me, the captain of this project.

In these times, people are expected to bring knowledge and dedication to their work. If people don’t bring those things, teamwork can still happen. But when they do bring their best experience and problem solving skills to the task, it’s beautiful.

When we catch each other’s mistakes, and give suggestions about how we can avoid them–That’s teamsmanship. That’s the ideal we are all looking for.