I am amidst a course in coastal navigation and was struck by 2 statements in the text book’s opening chapter – not in how it relates to sailing, but instead how it relates to business and the world I'm in.
[Navigation is built around two simple questions: “Where am I now” and “How do I safely get from here to where I want to go?”]
It has been noted that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg thinks in terms of decades, not years. Having a vision is key and, more importantly, being able adjust how you get there based on uncontrollable factors (i.e. currents and wind) is the only way you’ll reach your destination.
It’s not enough to simply layout the possibilities but to further make the call on where you’re going and plan out the roadmap for getting there.
[Inexperienced skippers tend to spend too much time at the navigation station and too little out in the cockpit where the real sailing is going on and where dangers can be seen rather than theorized.]
Liz Strauss once described the difference between skills vs. experience as, “The time invested in having faced a whole lot of decisions.” There is simply no better way of learning than by doing. And while data, insights, and theory are paramount in the business world, they must be paired with actual experiences and lessons learned in both failing and delivering results.
The one piece of advice that I won’t ever forget from a former manager is that in order to provide real value, “You must work the clay.”