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Ice Navigation and Leadership

My first encounter with ice navigation was in the winter of 1998.

My ship was sailing around the coast of Newfoundland, heading towards Montreal, Canada.
During winters, the warm ocean water freezes into solid ice in colder regions, sometimes as thick as 1-2 meters!!

This thick ice creates resistance and pressure against the ship’s movement and ships have to cut through this solid ice and force their way to move ahead.

Outside air temperature drops below zero degrees, and if there is wind blowing, it creates something called wind chill (I recollect the lowest temperature I have experienced was around -40 deg C including wind chill!!)

Navigating in such conditions is not easy, but it’s a surreal experience for sure!

White sheet of ice all around....

The chill of winter air....

The ship moving like a lone soldier, cutting through the ice....
Slow but steady...
Ships that can navigate in ice are called Ice-class ships, having special characteristics such as:
1. A strong hull (external structure), made of thick special steel which can withstand ice pressure and temperature variations
2. A unique streamlined shape, which enables cutting through ice
3. Very powerful engines which help the ship to move against the ice pressure

Apart from leveraging the special characteristics, the key to navigating in such ice conditions is to continuously look for leads

Leads are small openings in the ice, which can help you navigate ahead.
As you create and push through these openings, you create small navigable channels within the thick ice for the ship to move ahead
If you are not able to create these leads and move ahead, then the ice pressure usually starts building up and the ship may get stuck in ice

Why am I telling you all this?

Because there are some very important leadership lessons which I have learnt from ice navigation.

Ordinary ships don’t have the above special features and hence, cannot navigate in frozen waters, as they will get stuck and will need external assistance.

Sometimes, this happens with us in life and business as well.

We feel that external circumstances are really tough, pressure is building from all sides.
We get stuck and can’t move ahead, just like an ordinary ship in freezing waters.

And those are times when you need to transform yourself as a leader…

Inside out...

From feeling like an ordinary ship to navigating boldly like an ice-class ship...

By becoming aware of your uniqueness, your unique strengths, and values, your unique gifts, and your unique superpowers as a leader

By looking for those leads - a small opening, a small shift in perspective, a new insight….something which can help you see things differently and move ahead

Because sometimes, that small shift in perspective or that new insight can create a massive difference in the way you show up for your teams and your business
While I am not sailing now, but as a leadership coach, I bring all these learning and experiences into my coaching practice for my clients

Here is something for you to reflect upon:

Are you aware of your unique gifts and superpowers?

 

PS : Whenever you are ready to push yourself outside your comfort zone and create new possibilities in life, 

you can book a short exploratory call here ( Book Your Call )

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