Do You Feel Lost at Sea?

This week’s blog series is inspired by a pile of literature books my son was reading for his high school class in preparation for finals week.

Imagine the calamity. The ship captain stands at the bow of his ship to make a grand proclamation. All ship-hands, from the cook to the deck scrubbers, riggers and oar-men, stand at attention.

“I have good news, and I have bad news.”

The crew listens intently.

“The good news is that we are ahead of schedule to reach our destination. The bad news is that I am not sure where we are going.”

Can your team relate to this story? How does this happen? Did you (the captain) forget where you were headed? Or did your team (the individual crew members) do what they thought best based upon where they thought they were headed.

Whether as the team-leader or the team member, we get caught up in our day-to-day activities of getting to our destination, or choose to ride with the winds of fortune, and we forget where we are headed. No matter the reason for not knowing the destination, the fault ultimately lays with the team leader. This lack of team leadership leads to wasteful activity and frustration on your part, on the part of your team–and your boss. You can avoid this by checking your course and checking often. Making sure daily activities are aligned with the team’s objectives is often referred to as working in context in which each team member knows how their activity supports the success of the team.

Quick check: Are your daily activities bringing you closer to fulfilling your team’s objectives? Do you (and everyone else on the team) understand how your work interacts with others’ work to create success?

On Wednesday, we’ll discuss three steps to help your team integrate their work activities and understand how they each play a crucial role in achieving the team’s objectives!



*For additional seafaring inspiration, see O Captain! My Captain! –by Walt Whitman, 1900 or Invictus–by William Ernest Henley, 1888

Jonathan Shaver