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There may be trouble ahead.

Troubled waters ahead.

Ever since boats have been putting to the water, there have been rules for dealing with bad weather.

Unwritten laws passed through the generations for immediate reference when the occasion calls for it.

I’m no sailor, but from what I can gather, the minute a storm appears, the captain turns the vessel to face oncoming waves.

The only way to tackle a wave, apparently, is head on.

I like that.

Face it and deal with it. Push through.

Whatever you do, they say, don’t run.

As enticing as it might seem to make a dash for shelter, the second a wave hits the hull side-on, you’re dead.

Businesses are no different, it seems to me.

When the waters around us get choppy, common sense would seem to dictate throwing dead wood over the side and making a dash for safety.

Batten down the hatches, so to speak.

Maybe lose some of the Sales Team.

Ditch the Continuous Improvement Department.

Cancel training. Ban travel. Curtail incentive programmes.

Makes sense, right?

No matter that the business is losing millions in waste every year, and of course, now there isn’t anyone to spot and remove it.

The hull is taking on water.

But it’s happening below decks where it can’t be seen.

One fact that is never mentioned is that the real work to protect the ship was done long before the boat ever hits a storm.

Before it even left port.

The crew.

There is no single person whose presence on the ship is not crucial.

Not a soul aboard who doesn’t know, to within a millimetre, where he should be at any given time.

The tiniest twitch on the captain’s face, the slightest change in the tone of his voice and they’re moving into silent, stone-faced, co-ordinated action.

Can you say the same about your business?

When the storm hits, will the person you need to help you through be the one you threw overboard?

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