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Insight on how we run our businesses can come from strange places – places we never thought to look. Often this is because we’re so caught up in our day-to-day duties and so used to seeking advice in the same old, same old, that we don’t think to try somewhere new and see if it’ll help give us the clarity we’re looking for.
Well, luckily, if you’re reading this, you won’t have to look too far: an article on the Intuit Small Business Blog entitled Leadership Lessons From the Sea offers some advice from Crane Stookey, “a former tall-ship officer and founder of the Nova Scotia Sea School”, on how we can look to things learned from a nautical lifestyle for advice on running our own businesses.
I’ll be honest: the concept of improving my own skills as a business owner based on advice best saved for navigating deep waters has never crossed my mind, but bigger surprises have come my way in the past. Besides, when you run your own shop, you get a knack for trying new things you wouldn’t have considered in the past.
Here’s a snippet from the article:
Ask the Right Questions
The expansive state of mind that Stookey’s techniques encourage is important for leaders because it brings an upbeat note to their demeanor and encourages them to observe and embrace other people’s ideas.
Leaders can become more effective simply by asking their team members what they need more and less of to do their jobs better. The answers to those questions can shed light on far more than logistical and material concerns.
“Leaders are supposed to be the visionaries, but I believe that the rank and file have vision,” Stookey says. “Those two questions can bring about operational improvements as well as breakthroughs in vision.”
Whether you’re at a conference table or on a boat at sea, he says, a clear understanding of exactly what’s needed in a given situation will always steer you right.
We try to be pretty inclusive here at AIS Solutions. I always take suggestions from my staff into consideration, and I’ve found that Mr. Stookey’s advice rings true: their feedback helps continue to propel our company forward, and why wouldn’t it? This is a team operation, and what my staff needs is essential to ensuring they can perform their jobs as effectively as possible and continue to help us build our business.
So there’s one example of lessons learned at sea that work for businesses back on land. The article also covers the idea of giving everyone in your organization a place – to put them where they want and need to be – as well as the importance of freeing your mind from a sense of limitation. It’s a very interesting read, especially given the unique theme behind it, and we’d recommend giving it a read if you want a fresh way to learn some lessons in leadership.
What did you think? Did you find the article useful? Do you have any other non-traditional methods of learning about leadership? Your thoughts are always welcome, so let us know!