BBS Sailing Experience Talks: Giancarlo Pedote

7 July 2022

On Wednesday 29 June, the second Talk organized by the “BBS Sailing Experience” was held at Bologna Business School as a lead-up to the “Trofeo Stefano de Maria”, the regatta that will be held in the exclusive setting of Punta Ala (Gr) on 1st and 2nd October, where Executive MBA alumni and students will also be able to race in the wake of classroom training.

The guest of the second Talk has been the great Florentine yachtsman, born in 1975, Giancarlo Pedote, with an exceptional moderator Prof. Andrea Lipparini, Director of Executive MBA courses, Professor of Strategy at an international level, Associated Dean of Bologna Business School and Professor at the Executive MBA.

During the speech, Giancarlo Pedote spoke a little about himself and his victories with the intention of transferring to the managers present in the room his vision of business that has enabled him to achieve the results he has to date in a highly competitive and highly unpredictable context.

His experience with sailing began almost by chance at the age of fourteen, although it is a path that life has written for him, making him find, from time to time, the means necessary to follow it.

He likes to study human thought and, thanks to his historical sponsor Prysmian Group, he has pursued his goals with a scientific, Cartesian, and ethical method where daring has always represented a mission for him to achieve with total dedication.

Pedote is an atypical yachtsman born and bred in Florence where he studied and graduated in Philosophy at the University of Florence then, about 12 years ago, discovered the open sea of Bretagne and decided to embrace his codes, daring when it is worth it!

He trains hard in the most adverse weather conditions, with some of the most competitive adversaries in the world, and supported by his sponsor Prysmian Group, he manages to take the Italian flag to the starting line of the Vendée Globe, now in its ninth edition, in the year 2020-2021, even conquering the Top Ten. Pedote is in fact the first Italian skipper to finish this regatta with an eighth-place, just 20 hours behind the first classified.

The Vendée Globe is the race par excellence, the most challenging that a sailor can face because it consists of a non-stop, unassisted solo round-the-world voyage, and this race, which has been a dream for him since he was 14, he tackles aboard his Prysmian Group – an 18, 28 m (60 ft) – equipped with small foils (i.e. wings that raise the boats above the water), sailing brilliantly and steadily “nibbling” away at his rivals (shortly after the start he was 28th out of 33) and holding his own against the super-favorites of this edition, aboard ultra-competitive and modern hulls.

For Pedote, sailing is not only a reason for living but also a real business that allows him to support himself and his family of a wife and two beautiful children. For him, however, doing business does not mean “I win – you lose” – an obsolete format linked to cunning – but it represents a pure strategy and hard work to be carried out in close contact with the Team built up over time and after a long selection process during which there was no lack of mistakes that he paid for personally but from which he was able to draw great lessons that made him grow both as a person and as a manager and entrepreneur of himself. He has been able to form a team of people who, to this day, inject not only skills but also confidence and the right amount of energy and devotion needed to climb to the top of a 27-meter-high tree in the middle of a stormy ocean knowing that nothing will happen because the team has designed, built and assembled everything to perfection under the careful supervision of its Leader.

During his speech, he repeatedly emphasized the difference between a team and a working group, favoring the former over the latter because of the shared values that the leader must know how to transmit to his people under his careful supervision in order to guide the team towards the achievement of a common goal which, if achieved, will give everyone great satisfaction and the right amount of determination needed to face the new challenge that is always just around the corner.

In the classroom, I was able to appreciate a focused, methodical Skipper, a great manager who was able to convey the importance

  • of creating and managing a team
  • of the right competitiveness within the Team by assigning individual goals
  • of leadership and the management of fear and stress

Regarding this last point, I report here the post of Martina Del Castello MBA Alumna of the BBS who was able to express Pedote’s vision very well: “a society is such when there are men who share codes, of language, morals, and thought. The rest is, more or less, a barbaric world. We probably choose who to be as soon as we start talking, but we certainly choose what leader to be as we build relationships, values, and vision with those around us.

One can always decide to leave a job. You will hardly want to leave a vision”.

And finally the thanks.

Thanks to Giancarlo Pedote for sharing with us Alumni and thanks to BBS for providing us with new insights belonging to highly competitive business contexts different from those in which we usually work, thus providing us with new keys that can provide a new and different vision.



Simona Bonini | Legal & Compliance Manager presso Industria Italiana Autobus e Alumna BBS


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