Skip to main content

Of lee shores, encyclopedias and knowing what you don’t know

  • Author:
  • Updated:
    Original:

Longtime Soundings contributing writer Mike Saylor has a way of distilling subjects to their essence.

Take his rules of seamanship. “Don’t sink the boat,” Mike once wrote. “Don’t run her aground. Get to where you are going and return with the same crew you started with — and all in one piece.”

Mike had another keen observation about safety at sea that I often think of in other contexts, including business.

Let me set it up. Mike had been asked to help deliver a sailboat to Belize, but he didn’t like the route the owner was insisting on. The owner had been sailing on Long Island Sound for more than 20 years, which made him experienced, right? Yes and no.

“He essentially mistook one year of the same inshore experience repeated 20 times for experience on the open sea,” Mike wrote. “On the delivery, he was on a lee shore during a hurricane; it cost the life of a friend.”

We know what we know, as the saying goes. Where we often have more difficulty is in recognizing and acknowledging what we don’t know. We make assumptions based on our experiences, but what if those skills and observations and acquired knowledge are, like the late sailor’s, the same basic experiences and skill sets repeated over and over.

You need not look further than the disruption caused by either ignoring or not recognizing until it was too late the looming Web and digital lee shores.

In an interview with Soundings Trade Only this summer, Bryant Boats chairman John Dorton discussed targeting millennials. To help, he turned to a professor at a design school in the Detroit area with experience in the auto industry. He wanted to see what a class of 19- to 24-year-old design students would come up with. “I needed to know what their thinking was,” he told us at the time. Whether the boat floated or not was secondary.

“Right now you’ve got 50-year-old men trying to think like 20-year-olds, so I wanted to get their perspective,” he explained. “[Millennials] really don’t want their parents’ stuff.”

You may have 30 years of experience, but can you think like a 20-year-old? Are we plowing the same ground year after year because it’s what we know, because it worked in the past, because we’re comfortable with it?

As the video so humorously suggests, it’s easy to misread the smoke signals when you’re intent on seeing what you want to see.

Related

IMG_8361

Finding the Next Buyers

Discover Boating commissioned a research study to fine-tune targeting efforts in marketing.

Insider Access

My hope is to include at least one insider story in every issue of Soundings Trade Only to provide a look at corners of the trade that some folks might not know exist.

AdobeStock_172380409

How to Create a Great Workplace

With insights gleaned from more than 16,000 individual industry employee satisfaction surveys, the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas has gained new understanding and answers of how to drive employee engagement.

Q&A_Brunswick

Q&A with David Foulkes and Alexandra Cattelan

After divesting its well-known bowling, billiards and fitness brands, Brunswick Corp. emerged as a boating-focused conglomerate, with familiar brands including Sea Ray, Boston Whaler, Bayliner, Protector, Lowe Boats, Mercury Marine, and Freedom Boat Club.

AdobeStock_310603612

Two Secrets to Getting Results

Any leader can give reasons for failing to achieve acceptable results. The best leaders overcome inevitable challenges, and some of those leaders make it look easy. Some seem to drive results effortlessly, while others struggle.

1_RIGHWHALES

Industry Pushes Back Against Speed Restrictions

A NOAA Fisheries proposal would restrict boats 35 feet and larger to a 10-knot speed limit along the East Coast to protect right whales from vessel strikes.

4_MAGONIS

Magonis Opens Connecticut Office

The Spain-based, electric-boat builder offers an 18-footer that’s available with motors from Torqeedo and Mag Power.

01_YOUTH.FISHING

Bill Seeks to Increase Youth Fishing

The bipartisan Coastal Fishing Program Act of 2022 would ease barriers to accessing the outdoors in underserved communities.