Saturday, April 18, 2009

Marketing and the Lost Sailor_Saint of Circumstance

Have you ever been sailing?
Sailing is a magical way of traveling -- your boat is set up to move subject entirely to the whims of nature; the winds, the currents, all of the energies around you. Where you're actually going is really a compromise between where you would like to go and your ability to channel the energies to take you there.

In it's purest sense, there's no real planning in sailing. Just because it's Monday at 9:00am, it doesn't mean that the wind is going to be blowing at 15 knots and you'll be able to get to your client meeting across the bay at 11:00am. Instead, sailing is a combination of expectation and predictive behaviors combined with the ability to adapt quickly and leverage that adaptation. You look ahead, you watch the signs and the wind indicators and you react with your larger directional goal in mind. In the big picture, time is like an uninvited guest to your party.

Sailing can be divided into what you can control and what you can't control. To quote an old essay from Sailing Magazine, "you can't set the wind, but you can set your sails." You can't control the wind, but you can control your reaction -- and your crew's reaction -- to the navigational situation. You can look for geographic places and positions where you can expect the wind to blow consistently, but regardless of where you are, there are days when the wind blows and days when it doesn't.

So, big picture here:
  • Where are you going? Sometimes process without the pressures of destination and schedule is worthwhile and liberating. Sometimes it will take you on adventures in places you never would have sought.
  • Are you too focused on destination or tactics? Without an awareness of both and an effective balance, you're probably not going to arrive anywhere near a target destination.
  • Are you struggling because the wind isn't blowing or because your crew isn't reacting to your instructions?
  • Are you poised to take advantage of tactical opportunities -- a strong gust or a favorable steady wind?
  • Just because you have everything set for what the wind is doing now, that doesn't mean you're done. You are in a dynamic system. You need to watch and monitor constantly because you may need to trim your sails for subtle changes taking place around you.

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