Lessons Learned On a Big Boat

Last week I surprised my wife and took her on a cruise. It has been a busy time in our lives so I thought a little rest and relaxation would be good. It was an amazing time, I enjoyed getting away and spending time with her.

I was very observant each day of the way things were run on the ship. I watched the staff and even took notes of things that I saw. I came up with 7 leadership lessons that I learned from our cruise.

1. The staff are passionate people! Everywhere you look, the men and women are passionate about what they are doing. From the room steward making monkeys and other animals out of towels and leaving them in our room after straightening up to watching others picking up tiny pieces of paper and debris on the deck, the waiters serving food, the entertainers putting on the shows…everyone had a big smile on their face and convinced me that they loved what they were doing! Successful people are excited about what they do. They are passionate.

2. Communication was absolutely outstanding! Each day we received an itinerary on paper called “The Compass” which listed the time and location of every event on the ship from morning until night. Public announcements were made over the intercom; there was a television channel with the itinerary running 24 hours a day; there were large screens located all over the ship where you could view the itinerary and announcements were made at every production. They made it impossible to miss something! People are down on what they’re not up on. Keep people informed and repeat your words often.

3. They were prepared! After everyone was on board, the crew had a mandatory emergency drill where they make sure you are shown how to put a life jacket on and what area on the ship to go to in case there is an emergency.

The Titanic was such a horrible disaster and hundreds of people lost their lives because there were not enough life boats for everyone. They felt it was unnecessary. Leaders must be prepared for both best-case and worst-case scenarios in the organization.

We must have a plan for all kinds of emergency.

4. The Multiplication factor was obviously taking place.

The Captain wasn’t on the bridge the entire time. He became ill and had to be replaced but we didn’t notice any difference!

It was obvious from the level of service that we received that the entire staff had been well trained in their jobs.

People were responsible for more than one job…you may see a young man bringing Cokes out to people by the pool and in the evening, you would see the same man serving dinner. You may see a girl singing and enjoying the spotlight at one of the performances on the ship but the next day, you may see her checking out beach towels to people.

The captain had surrounded himself with a highly capable and committed team in order to accomplish the ship’s mission.

5. We observed and experienced total commitment to the customer.

The staff was dedicated to making sure you had a fun and memorable experience. We were told over and over that it was their joy to serve us.

My wife Vickie is a devout Spurs fan and she was frantic to watch the game on the ship. We asked if the game was being shown anywhere and it was not. The young man at the Customer Service desk then proceeded to hand me a card with a number giving me free wifi for an hour so we could check the score of the game because he said he could see that “it was important to us.” I was so impressed by that “over and above” attitude.

6. They had people and systems in place. I sat back watching all the people working together and the systems that had to be in place to accommodate 2500 people cruising on the ship. 2 different times for dining, meals that had to be served right away, dishes to be cleared, drinks to be poured, various events happening all over the ship…it was a work of art and the timing had to be on point.

7. Correction was given and taken. Our assistant waiter was late a few times and he would disappear often. We watched the head waiter take him to the side and reprimand him strongly. In watching, you could think the head guy was being a jerk or you could think, he is teaching him now so he will learn and be promoted in the future…so he will succeed!

It is helpful when you hold people to their jobs and at some point, they will be grateful that you did it.

So these are the lessons that I learned while enjoying a week away with my wife. I am blessed and grateful…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *