Have you ever wondered why some leaders go down in history as one of the greats? Better yet, wouldn’t it be amazing to be added to the list? As life-learners, we all yearn to be better than we were yesterday. We recognize that the world around us is rapidly transforming, so it’s a no-brainer that vigilance, flexibility and relevance is paramount.
While thinking about this subject, my mind wondered to the topic of sailing. Don’t ask me why! I’m not very fond of boats, nor do I swim! However, there is something intriguing to me about how these fine vessels work. If you are a sailor, please forgive me now! Everything that I have learned in the last few days about sailing was from Wikipedia and YouTube – Ha! So here it goes!
Check out these 10 things as it relates to leadership:
1. You must first be trained on the parts of the boat and their purpose.
2. You must be given standard training on how to operate the boat.
3. You must understand the responsibility of each person on the boat.
4. You must prepare the boat, with a detailed checklist of items,before it is sailed.
5. You must determine the wind direction.
6. You must hoist your sails and point the boat into the wind.
7. You must realize that along the way you will be faced with changing winds.
8. You must make key decisions and adjust accordingly.
9. You must accept that you are responsible for everyone on the boat.
10. You must ensure that everyone is doing their job effectively. If not, the boat will not sail properly and you will find yourself off-course.
Well, I could probably stop here and let you draw your own conclusion about the connection I have made to sailing and leadership. But, I won’t do that to you. I’ll leave you with this!
Leadership takes initial and ongoing training to be truly successful. Although, there are textbook-standards to leading a team, transforming a company and keeping the boat afloat (pun intended), it is the leader’s charge to get everyone rowing in the same direction. Checklists and processes are key to ensure the organization is prepared, safe and set up for success. A leader must be forward-thinking and always checking the wind (sometimes affectionately known as understanding the customers’ needs and staying abreast of market dynamics).
Once a direction is charted, it is the leader’s responsibility to take a head count, ensure everyone is on the boat and make the call to leave the dock. As the team sets sail, the leader must prepare the team for changing wind patterns (as this will occur). Changing winds may come in the form of new legislation, competitive pressures, customer preference changes and economic swings. Great leaders anticipate and adjust! Why? Because pivotal moments can either happen to you or through you!
When the time is right, leaders adjust the mast rate to regulate the direction and speed. They stay connected throughout the journey with their key personnel. Why? Because leaders understand that each person on the boat has a responsibility. If they don’t do their job effectively, the boat will never sail properly.
Leaders take calculated risks and intently set the sails to seize pivotal moments. Will you be this type of leader? #letsgo