Throughout my career, I have had the opportunity to write about a number of different sports and activities that have inspired business lessons. Growing up on the bay and ocean of the Jersey Shore, I am surprised I have yet to write about how boating and boat ownership prepared me for business.
With Night in Venice happening in Ocean City this weekend, I feel there is no better time to “float” a few sea-fairing thoughts on the subject. Here are a few skills I have learned from time on my boat as well as other’s boats that may help you create some smooth sailing in your life, business and career.
• Plan ahead: One of the most valuable skills I learned from boating was to plan ahead. It is so important to check weather conditions. Maybe the minimal problem you could face is getting stuck in a rain storm. But not watching for severe weather like thunderstorms or worse could be a very serious matter for you, your boat and for the safety of your passengers. Just like in business, plan ahead and always be on alert. Always be sure to plan for the safety of your team, your business and yourself.
• Learn to navigate: The way people approach navigation can be a personal choice. However, the rules of navigation when boating are something all boaters should learn. The same applies for business. It's important in business and your career to evaluate every potential path you or your business could take when navigating the business world. It is the best way to be able to proceed confidently and in the right direction.
• Time management: Managing time is a key skill when working in any business. It is important when boating as well. Plenty can go wrong when you’re not watching the clock out at sea. It is essential to pay attention to the time and the tide or you risk running your boat aground or getting stuck on a sandbar. In business, good time management allows you to complete you work while balancing the other elements of your life
• Be responsible: Boating has taught me the importance of responsibility. When my brother and I owned our boat, we knew the cost and how much it was worth. We also knew that we needed to take care of it. Maintaining our boat and making sure it ran properly was part of the responsibility we took on as young men. The same can be said for your business. Know the value and be responsible for taking care of it. If you have employees, of course you are responsible to those individuals as well.
• Know your equipment: You need to have more than a working knowledge of the equipment you use in both boating and business. While you are maneuvering throughout the bays and ocean is not the time to read a manual. Although price and cost are always a factor in boating and business, the point here is to understand what you are working with and how to get the most out of the equipment you are using. Take the time to understand what equipment you have and what it is meant to do. Chances are your boat and your business will sail or motor more smoothly if you possess this knowledge.
• The captain and your crew: Although the captain is the leader on the boat, many times you need to take on additional roles that are important to boating and business. If you have a “crew” your job as captain or leader is to communicate and unite people around a goal. Each and every team member should be part of the contribution towards the goal. While you could take the boat out alone, having a crew in business or boating is more likely to make the likelihood of success a reality.
Whether you are on the water or working in business, I hope these boating inspired tips and thoughts help to create some smooth sailing! Hope to see you in Ocean City at Night in Venice on July 13th.