We usually think of threats as something big and dangerous that can sneak up and overwhelm us when we aren’t looking,” states the article The Business Lessons From the Titanic.
It wasn’t the iceberg that brought the Titanic down; rather, it was the poor leadership that believed the ship was unsinkable.
Here are three of those lessons for leaders navigating through icy waters of change.
Lesson #1: Pay Attention – The Signs Are There!
The Titanic received six warnings of ice on the day of the collision. They were all ignored by the wireless operator, who was preoccupied with transmitting passenger messages and by the crew, who were focused on breaking the speed record.
What are some of those signs in your business that says potential trouble ahead? Is a good current customer or client not returning your calls or emails? Is there more absenteeism than usual and it’s not even flu season? Are your sales up but profits going nowhere?
The signs are already there. Catch them before it is too late.
Lesson #2: Little Things Can Turn Into Big Things!
The iceberg that the Titanic struck was not very big. It didn’t even come up as high as the bridge of the ship. And the hole in the boat was actually quite small — six cuts measuring a little over three square feet.
Have you ever thought, “How did we ever get into this situation?” Rarely do large problems just happen. They are usually the result of a lot of little things, over time working together, that result in something big.
What are the little things that chip away at employee morale that lesson their productivity? What are the little things that chip away at your customers’ experience that drives them away? And what are the little things, that cost very little, that can increase both employee and customer loyalty?
Lesson #3: Look Below the Surface – That’s Where Trouble Lies!
Only about ten percent of an iceberg’s mass is above water, with the other ninety percent below (hence the phrase “tip of the iceberg.”) With so much mass below the surface, it’s almost impossible to push an iceberg out of the way. Even a ship the size of the Titanic couldn’t do it.
Think of a crucial decision you as a leader has to make right now? What can you see or discern? More importantly what can’t you see clearly? What can you do to get a better view of the situation?
One way to get a better view is to seek diverse perspectives and think through a range of scenarios about what might, could or possibly happen. This is the time to gather data and pay attention to a range of opinions before making that big decision. It’s time to get rid of business as usual thinking.
Smart Moves Tip:
Many fast-moving companies give little thought to what the warning signs might be. Some of the best spotters of a potential disaster are your front line people. They see the business from your customers’ perspective and experience. How well are you tapping into their wisdom and foresight?
Take a look at The Customer Experience is a unique reality check program that connects you with your customers AND your people to build the 4 R’s of business success- better reputation, retention, referrals and revenue.