LEADER’S FIELD GUIDE
I’ve only been on one cruise and I think I need a do-over. We traveled from the port of New York to Port of Hamilton, Bermuda (969 nm). By sheer coincidence, it was exactly 40 years after my husband’s parents celebrated their honeymoon and the same weekend the entire island shuts down to enjoy “a heated cricket match between two island rivals, St. George’s and Somerset.”1 I was still suffering from an undiagnosed neck injury making me extremely sensitive to the movement of the ship, and even before leaving port I was reaching for the Dramamine.
An entire sea of water can’t sink a ship unless it gets inside the ship. Similarly, the negativity of the world can’t put you down unless you allow it to get inside you. ~Goi Nasu
Cruise ships are like floating resorts complete with restaurants, climbing walls, spas, gift shops, and medical facilities. The largest cruise ship is the Symphony of the Seas, weighing in at 228,081 tons.2 (Actually, engineers referred to water displacement rather than weight3 –if we could all be that lucky when tracking our weight, right?) …And that is not including the 6,680 passengers and 2,200 crew members.4 The Royal Caribbean’s flagship “is as long as the Empire State building without its antennas.”4 It has 18 decks and a max speed of 25mph.
Here are a few things to consider before taking a maiden voyage:
- Inclining Test: Ships are built in one of only four shipyards in a dry dock. An Inclining Test determines the ship’s stability, lightship weight (weight of the hull, including machinery and equipment) and the coordinates of its center of gravity.2 This is akin to a leader preparing for a new adventure while assessing readiness for adversity and commitment to core values.
- Float Out: Once a ship is ready to leave the dry dock, the area is filled with water allowing the ship to float. Tugboats then move the ship to a berth where the remaining construction continues.2 Though it is tempting for a leader to remain secretive about an upcoming launch, eventually an idea, product, or service must be introduced for further development.
- Ballast Calibration: In addition to cruise ship’s precious cargo (the passengers), it carries fuel and consumable stores, like food and gift shop bags. The ballast is water taken on by the ship into specific compartments for balance during the voyage. Just as leaders must shift focus from time to time to keep things in balance. Compartmentalizing allows for concentration on one thing at a time.
We encountered 8-foot swells as we sailed back to New York City. I remember looking across the dining room to see the piano three feet higher than my head. Thankfully, I felt great. My regiment of Dramamine also prevented me from being dizzy during our ballroom dancing lessons and I learned the box step! Through stormy seas, the entire ocean was kept outside of the ship, and its lifecycle provided an example of leader’s readiness for adversity, launch, and balance.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Michelle Sugerman (PMP, PCC) is a speaker, author, and leadership coach with Leading Synergies. She founded Synergy Groups, virtual masterminds connecting all Christians, everywhere, for the purpose of Community, Accountability, Transformation, and Leadership. She also partners with high-performers and heirs-apparent especially in the STEM industries. Michelle’s formal background in technology, franchise, and project management gives her an edge on implementing best practices and scaling towards sustainable success. Michelle lives in Colorado where she hikes fourteeners and enjoys gourmet meals with her loving husband of 22 years.