Archive for category Sailing



One of the most common questions we are asked about our sailing adventures, especially by fellow sailors, is ‘Have you been around Cape Horn?’ We always proudly answer YES. Sometimes, we even go on to explain that we did it on the Queen Mary 2, on a trip from Ft. Lauderdale to San Francisco. Honestly, it was the only way to do it without spilling my martinis. Being the ships maiden voyage into San Francisco we were treated to a royal welcome.  (Arrival pictured above)

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“Learning the secret of flight from a bird was a good idea like learning the secret of magic from a magician.  After you once know the trick and know what to look for you see things that you did not notice when you did not know exactly what to look for.”  – Orville Wright


I love to sail and fly. Ironically they both share the common power PRINCIPLE of air foil. Once learned this PRINCIPLE has many applications and as with all PRINCIPLES, when violated you lose it’s power. Friday’s was founded on management PRINCIPLES that when violated lost their power. We can learn from Orville’s observation and once a PRINCIPLE is demonstrated, continue to learn from it and exploit it’s power.  Research for my book found many highly successful companies, in multiple fields employing the same PRINCIPLES upon which Friday’s was founded with equally outstanding results. Delightfully Friday’s UK is one of the most successful in my research. 

“Rules are not necessarily sacred, principles are.” ~ Franklin D. Roosevelt

PS: The G650 is my metaphorical image of Friday’s during principled flight.

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imageimageimageimageimageimageimageWhen I first started racing sailboats I thought I had found the silver bullet to the the winners circle. I bought the fastest boat in the fleet from the Admiral of the fleet, who consistently placed in the top three finishers.  While waiting for his new boat to arrive the Admiral crewed for various members of the club. With great anticipation, I entered my first race. Halfway down the first leg of the race, the Admiral, who was crewing for one of the slowest boats in the fleet was passing me!  I asked him, as he went by what I was doing wrong. He said, Dan, you aren’t doing any one thing wrong, your are doing a whole lot of little things wrong! After 120,000 sea miles or roughly 6 times around the world I am still learning those little things!

Watching many of today’s ‘professional’ executives being passed by their competition or just plain failing, I am reminded of that lesson from my early sailing days. Rather than work on the basics these ‘professionals’ look for the quick fix, magic wand, silver bullet or magic pill. My upcoming book is focused on building a foundation on principles and careful attention to the basics, because there is NO SILVER BULLET!! .

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Share Your Compass


In my upcoming book we talk about the many values of goal setting and we illustrate how it can become an aid to problem solving. We call this the ‘Flagpole Theory’. Another value to clear, shared goal setting, complete with the accompanying core values, is the empowerment of the organization. Weak leaders control by limited shared knowledge and management direction is by ‘rules’. Before a decision can be made the ‘Boss’ must be consulted. Wow! Power! Just like ship captains of old were fearful of teaching the crew how to navigate. It gave them power and reduced the possibility of mutiny.

Sharing the compass and how to use it empowers the organization to act on a consistent and timely basis. Speed, agility and improved results are the product of this management style. It takes, however, a strong, confident leader. My advice is be a strong leader……. ‘Share the Compass!’

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Theories & Philosophies – A Lifetime Legacy



My life has taken me from church pulpit to sailboat cockpit. I delivered my first sermon to an audience of 500 before I was old enough to drive. I learned to read the New Testament  in the original Koine Greek language and spent the summer between my sophomore and junior college years as minister of a church while the full time minister was on sabbatical. My sailing experience has taken me to many continents and exotic destinations, including, ports of call in the Mediterranean, Athens, Istanbul, Galapagos Islands and Alaska. I have sailed the equivalence of six times around the world including crossing the Atlantic and transiting the Panama Canal both three times. Pulpit to cockpit are the book ends to my business career at Boise Cascade and the founding of T.G.I. Friday’s Inc.

While I no longer practice a religion my early exposure has had a profound influence on my life. Certainly my values and my penchant to apply those values to business. The teaching method of metaphors and analogies obviously comes from this background. I became legendary both at Boise Cascade and Friday’s for my theories and philosophies and the metaphors I used to teach them. The ‘beach ball’, ‘steel pole’, ‘three styles of management’, ‘magic moment’, and many more were created during my decade long career at Boise Cascade. I continued to develop my repertoire and adapt it at Friday’s and while writing the book but they all owe their origins to my roots and now the added dimension of the lessons learned at sea.

It is flattering to see so many of these theories in common use on the internet. There are cartoon versions, flash card versions, one lady has a complete blog on the ‘beach ball theory’ and a hospitality consultant uses the ‘success syndrome’ and ‘four walls’ theories to start his web page. My attorney told me an arbitration class he took used the ‘beach ball theory’ to illustrate several approaches to arbitration. It is not surprising when you think about the wide dispersal of these theories through the managers we trained for the industry. We used to laugh when we saw the training manuals of other restaurant companies with our name just barely whited out.

We supplied the industry with more than just these training theories. Boise Cascade was on the cutting edge of the computing age. Wow! We had one of the first IBM 360’s. As part of the executive team I was sent to  IBM’s school in Poughkeepsie, New York. The basic message taught was, “LEAVE THE NERDS ALONE!”. Operationally, however, we did effectively use this new tool to develop  controls for all aspects of our business. I converted manufacturing controls to the controls for the  restaurant industry and many of these concepts, forms and controls are still in use today. It is amazing the impact we had.  The tools for free pouring bar operations are still on sale.  The diary we kept of daily  store operations, called ‘The Red Book’ must have inspired a product you can buy on Amazon, which looks exactly like what we used is called the ‘FRIDAY MEMORANDUM BOOK’. These are just the tip of the iceberg but the proudest legacy are the ‘Alumni’ that still use and cherish the values they learned from their Friday’s experience; they ‘Bleed Red & White!’




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We caught about as much fresh seafood as we could use everywhere we traveled but some of the best was in Alaska! The big disadvantage was no Scuba Diving! Here you see me with our underwater television camera equiped with a 100′ cable. Just a beautiful sub-surface but too damn cold to dive.

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Beach – Beer – Fun



With beach weather coming, I looked through the blog archives for beach fun & games. Just click on the Decembers archive. There you will find ‘Palm Beach Bowling’ and a beer game called ‘Beer Hunter’. If you want to become a member of the PBBA (Palm Beach Bowling Association) contact Bill Spae. It is believed that there are no living members of the Beer Hunters Association but check with Jeff Ryan.

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Cruising Alaska


Spinnaker run up a beautiful fjord. A night at a small marina. Last stop before Princess Louisa sound…..awesome waterfalls!

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