Life … the art of tacking!

I don’t sail…I’d like to but I don’t, sailing is not one of my skills. So why call your blog “Tacking”?

When I was studying for my masters (just slip that in), there was a module on how to be a leader in a contemporary context. Conventional management thinking says that you fix your goal and set a plan to meet the goal. The problem with that mindset is that it seldom works. Things get in the way of achieving your goal, unforeseen problems, other people’s agendas, market shifts, or lets face it your own weakness in sticking to your goals!

The idea of tacking is that in order to get from A to B you don’t go in a straight line. Sure you have your destination in mind but the way to get there is not that obvious. You set off, catch the wind and let the wind take you, probably in the wrong direction. When you have gone far enough you tack to let the wind take you in the other direction (any sailors can fill out the metaphor more appropriately). In effect you zig zag your way to your destination catching the wind to drive you there.

Leading organisations of any type is a bit like tacking, you have a destination in mind but you have to go a circuitous route to get there, more often than not it is not the way you thought you would go. The winds of change blow through our economy/society and you have have to tack to catch the wind of the moment to drive you forward. Organisations that don’t tack end up as irrelevant and redundant.

More than leadership, life is like tacking. Winds blow and you have to shift your direction. We can resist the storms of change and find ourselves run aground or we can be mindful of the forces that rage and tack to find ourselves still afloat and on course.

My blog is about tacking, responding to the winds of change that blow on us. Most of my thoughts will be about leadership, culture, faith and politics but I’m up for giving voice to something if it makes a difference to someone.

Now off to book my sailing holiday around the Greek Islands.

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