Thinking about how we face challenges and times of uncertainty, recently reminded us of the challenge we had at Outward Bound. Trying to row our Cutter, ‘Sir Wolf’, from Double Cove to Anakiwa, with no wind for us to set sail and a sea that was like a mill pond.
It was hard, it was arduous and it was challenging.
The thought of the pending nightfall was daunting.
When all else fails and there is no wind therefore you cannot get the sails up, row together like mad in the general direction of the intended destination!
It was at this point that the team lost the plot (just a little) trying to face the enormity, and maybe in some minds the impossibility of the task ahead that it reminded me of this quote from William Arthur Ward:
“The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails”.
Because we had no wind and could not even raise our sails let alone adjust them, and the likelihood of making dock at Anakiwa by nightfall was rapidly fading, some of the team decided it was time to give up and just have fun – surely, they will rescue us at some stage! Mid-cutter crew decided to row against the call putting us into a spin – literally – which lightened the mood as they endeavoured to keep us going round and round in circles.
In essence, the team was divided.
Some wanted to keep rowing for shore that was still quite some way off and others gave up and opted for having fun. Eventually our concerned ‘leaders’ came to our rescue and towed us the rest of the way!
Moral of the story – make sure as a leader you are also the realist and can set clear expectations, provide direction, and keep your team on course in the intended direction otherwise they will chart their own course! This is equally true when your people are feeling stressed, overwhelmed, and tired – look for the signs of your team going into survival mode or charting a different course to cope with the uncertainty surrounding them.
Are you looking to equip your people with the tools to weather the current sea of uncertainty and change?
Let’s start a conversation today about how we can help you and your team.