Sailing around the world is difficult and filled with a constant stream of new challenges and problems. While visiting many ports at crossroads around the world, I was surprised how many skippers were unwilling to ask for advice. I don’t know if it was their ego or not wanting to appear dumb or they just assumed they had all the answers that prevented them from expanding their knowledge base by asking for advice and directions.  Sadly, I’ve witnessed many avoidable problems and near disasters that could have been avoided if the skipper  asked, listened and used the information.

The same problem exists in the business world and life at large. There is so much information, points of view and experience available but yet untapped. Like the skippers described above leaders of all kinds go it alone. Think of the knowledge pool among employees alone.  The common complaint, however, is that the boss won’t listen.  Suppliers and potential suppliers are a great source  of knowledge.  Finally there are those who are  experienced and successful at what you are trying to do.  I can only conclude that weak leaders are worried about loss of control and/or looking dumb.

The colors of the beach ball represents full knowledge. Picture the ball as so big, that standing beside it  you can only see one of the colors and that to best solve your problem or seize the best opportunity,  you need to know all of the colors which represents full knowledge. Picture the ball, surrounded by the assortment of people with whom you are associated. If you ask and listen you will arrive at all the colors or  full knowledge. You have not given up control or looked dumb (to the contrary, most will be wowed by the fact you asked AND listened).  Now you are prepared to make a well informed maybe even, brilliant decision!  Leadership is the wisdom to acquire full knowledge and then make the best decision.


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