Going Against the Tide

I just returned from three days of offshore sailing. Among the many lessons learned, this lesson is for leaders, and it’s about going against the tide.

Ships coming in with the tide have the benefit of being able to move:

  • Faster with lesser effort
  • Forward while remaining in idle speed.

Seems good, right? Well, there’s a catch.

When you’re going with the tide, you have less control. As a matter of fact, it’s easy to lose control when going with the tide.

The tidal current is rushing you along, but the water is moving across your rudder in the wrong direction.

When moving with the tide, what appears to be forward momentum is actually a deadly current waiting to push you aside.

Then there’s the opposite approach.

When you’re moving against the tide, things go slower.

When you’re moving against the tide, you exert more effort, but the end result is dimished by the force of the tide.

Hold on, there’s a benefit.

When going against the tide, you have maximum control.

You see, by maintaining your position, the water is still flowing against your rudder (the steering mechanism). This effectively means you can steer while staying stationary.

If someone moving with the tide wants to stay stationary, they will have a high likelihood of losing control and crashing their vessel.

For Leaders.

Go against the tide.

It buys you time.

Yes, you must work harder. Yes, social pressure is against you.

But also yes, you’ll have time, composure, and control to make decisions that will ultimately place you and your crew in the position needed to achieve your aims.

What do you choose? Go with the tide and risk losing control?

Or going against the tide, move slower, and end up where you intend?

It’s your choice.