The challenges that Sir Chay overcame throughout his sailing career underlined for him the sheer determination that was needed for success. His philosophy is that danger should be understood and embraced rather than feared and this was echoed in the business challenges he has faced. Consequently, along with his excellence in sailing, he has developed expertise in business. In particular:
Challenge Business was set up in 1989 and became a market leader in creating, managing and promoting World Class events – providing the opportunity for ordinary people to do the extraordinary, for the professionals to reach for the extreme and visionary businesses to achieve amazing results.
The ethos of the company was that ordinary people doing extraordinary things – “the Challenge of a lifetime, the Adventure of your Life” and to break down the barriers associated with adventure sport. The company delivered excitement, adventure and competition with a commitment to safety and professionalism.
Challenge Business, sponsored by British Steel and BT, organised four of the ‘World’s Toughest Yacht Races’ as well as creating the Atlantic Rowing Races and the Transat for Open 60’s. The races raised millions of pounds for Save the Children and provided countless people with a challenge of a lifetime.
One of the questions raised in the Global Challenge races was why some crews were more successful than others. All were made up of the same mix of people, with the same skills, and faced the same conditions – the only difference was the skills, experience and leadership style of the skipper. Henley Management College worked with Chay and Challenge Business to examine leadership in the race and this led to some key insights into successful leadership and the formation of Inspiring Performance – which provided leadership consultancy, and a number of publications.