The Wind and Waves

Several years ago, I was on a strategic visioning committee for a public sector organization with a leader that I admired greatly.  She was visionary and was taking her own organization to new heights.  One day a small group of our committee met in her office, and on the wall of that office was a picture of a ship being tossed on large waves.  Across the bottom of the picture was inscribed the words, "The wind and the saves are always on the side of the ablest navigator."

That was a revelation to me, and I have thought about that concept often as I have worked my way through adversity, personal and professional.

Recently, I read an article about dealing with change written by Jim Clemmer.    Let me share an excerpt with you and then I will post a link to the entire article.

For the past few years, I have been using a simple concept to discuss our choices in dealing with difficult problems. Surveys and feedback from my workshop or retreat participants, continually point to the few minutes we spend on this basic model as the most powerful part of our time together. It may be basic and seem obvious, but many of us seem to need constant reminders and help because it is so easy to sink "below the line."

 There are grey areas slightly above and slightly below the line. This is "survivor" mode. When this is our response to a difficult change or problem, we're sitting on the fence to see what might happen, or we are waiting for someone else to do something. There are times when waiting in survivor mode and not acting immediately is quite wise — as long as we are above the line.

Examples might be when we need more information and have to do some research, or to see whether a change is going become a trend, or which way the new boss, government, or customer is going to go. The top of the graph — well above the line — is proactive "navigator" mode.

Jim's entire article can be read here.  It is a wonderful and accurate perspective of how we deal with change and how important it is to be an able navigator.