It Only Looks Easy

Sailing well requires managing complex and diverse systems in coordination with resources and the environment. When resources such as the wind, shifts, or environmental factors such as the current or your competitor’s tactics change, the entire complex system has to be adjusted.

Sometimes a minor tweak is all that is needed. Other times a major change of sail or direction is required. When more than a minor tweak is needed, the boat must be managed as an integrated whole—not a collection of individual parts—because the function of the parts are so inter-related.

These adjustments have to be identified and executed quickly if the boat is to maintain its forward momentum. Even a few seconds delay can mean the difference between winning and losing.

“In tranquillo esse quisque gubernator potest.” (Anyone can hold the helm when the sea is calm.)

Publilius Syrus, Latin writer of maxims,
1st century BCE

Leadership is a foul-weather job. What sets you apart from your competitors is how you perform during the tough times. Avoid becoming complacent and relaxing just because things are going well. Expect change and be prepared to respond to it.

When you judge everything on the basis of current conditions, you often misjudge the future by underestimating future opportunities and over-estimating how long the current conditions will last.

Being initially successful gives one false confidence in one’s decision-making and management abilities.

Bob Roitblat
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Bob Roitblat

Bob Roitblat is a Leadership Capabilities Expert and TEDx speaker. He helps organizations ignite creativity, overcome challenges and capitalize on opportunities. Bob is also the president of Mainsail Consulting Group, a business-advisory firm. Also connect with Bob on LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook.

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Bob Roitblat
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