As captain, what’s your next move?  Thousands of equivalent statements are made across the business landscape in America each day.  The subsequent decisions that are made can lead to diversely different results.  The business ship can usually be repaired and the voyage salvaged.  In some cases, however, that declaration can set off a catastrophic set of events that could spell ultimate doom to the ship, the crew and the mission.

Although reactions can vary, there is a set of principles that good captains employ that might be helpful when facing your next dilemma.  The first is that you should mentally prepare yourself for the day the ship runs aground.  New captains never think about the possibility of serious trouble.  After all, nothing bad happened at the cast-off ceremony, so why entertain the negative until you have to.  The problem with that is, not being mentally prepared instantly injects combustible stress into a situation that begs for calm and rational thinking.

The next step is to methodically assess the existence and size of the hole.  The last thing a good captain does is fully accept that the ship is sinking and call for all to abandon ship, prior to an exhaustive investigation.  It’s not that you disbelieve that there is a problem, it’s rather that you know instinctively that there is at least the possibility that everything you’re hearing is a gross exaggeration.  It could be that someone just saw some water on the floor of the ship and assumed that it is the result of a breach in the hull.  They may not know that one of the crew has knocked over a large bucket of water and is looking for some way clean it it.

Finally, good captains know that they can weather storms.  The old adage, “never let them see you sweat” certainly applies here.  As captain, you may not make all of the right decisions, even if the hole in the ship is real and sizeable.  That’s irrelevant as it relates to salvaging the ship and steering it out of dangerous waters.  You must trust your instincts and train your inner self to be calm and deliberative.  Your crew can never see the side of you that wants to run for the life boats.  That’s what sinks ships and companies.

Believe it!

Lewis Parham
Writer’s Cramp, Inc.