Everyone on point

Have you ever experienced a time when everything and everyone fell into place?  What did itLOOK and FEEL like?

Now contrast that to a time when things did not go so well.

I want to share an experience I had a few days ago while on vacation, along with the lessons that surfaced with it!

We began an early morning journey trek to an island called Isle de Tortoise.  It required a 90-minute shuttle, followed by a boat ride on a catamaran. The boat was large, clean, and filled with a full crew at the ready as we set off on our two-hour voyage.  The staff started with serving us with breakfast, fresh fruit, and drinks.  We arrived at our destination on target to a sunny beach with activities and chairs with umbrellas; everything was running like clockwork! Food and supplies were taken to shore, and people were asked to remove their footwear to protect the environment.

The boat crew transformed themselves to waiters. Hairnets for all! We enjoyed a delightful lunch before relaxing on the beach, feeling that all was right with the world… until the wind began to pick up!

Sand was covering surfaces. Waves became bigger. People were oblivious to what was happening, unaware of a potential storm approaching.

 

We watched as boats were unable to load passengers from the shore.   All of a sudden, the captain loudly alerted passengers of the need to depart quickly;  this is where the real story begins.

The crew became like focused ants, where everyone knew what to do and where to go.  In no time at all, the supplies were stowed, the crew assumed their positions on the boat, and the passengers formed a line to board swiftly.  In 10 minutes, 15 or more staff and close to 100 passengers were all safely aboard ready for the return trip.

People were encouraged to stay below because of the waves.  Many did (including me!), but there were some brave souls who ventured above.  The waves were high and the boat moved from side to side, causing people sitting on the second tier to get completely soaked.  A few people were even feeling the side effects of seasickness.

So what did the staff do?  They smiled a lot, they joked with passengers to keep them at ease, they served fruit, cake, and beverages.  They gently took people by the arm as they wanted to move about the boat.  They scrubbed the floor, swept the floor, picked up garbage all the while managing to keep everything ship shape.  They loved what they were doing.

So my takeaway for real life is here. There were in fact four lessons!

  1. Leadership – the leader stood out!  Not because he was different, dressed special, or spoke loudly, but because he clearly had the respect and trust of his team.  When the situation became a bit unstable, the crew looked to him.  

  2. Focus – everyone was laser focused, acting with a purpose by identifying what was needed and doing it.

  3. Know your role – on the boat everyone knew exactly what was expected of them; they carried out tasks, but always kept the customer’s experience at the top of their mind.  

  4. Execute – and this they did!  It was like a well-oiled machine.  Everyone was always in a constant state of movement doing exactly what was needed at any point in time.  Everything was spotless, the crew were light and cheerful, and the passengers reassured.

One might suggest they were “in the zone” or “flow”!  The question is, how do you achieve that when so much is unfolding?  One of the easiest and overlooked ways is to manage our emotions.  What does that mean?  It means understanding how conversations/events impact how we feel and then taking control.  It means that in periods of stress you are able to respond positively avoiding fatigue and conflict.  If you would like to learn about your stress level, CLICK HERE.

This was clearly a stressful experience for some.  The staff, however, thrived… and I might even suggest brought out the best in each other during this time.  As we left that night at the end of the day the crew was cleaning the ship getting ready for another day of sailing.  A wonderful day was had by all!

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