Was anyone else as obsessed with the ship that got stuck in the Suez Canal as I was? I could not stop reading about it. Couldn’t get enough of the hilarious memes it inspired. The more I read, especially as they began to actually solve the problem, the more I realized the whole episode was a perfect metaphor for how to get your business unstuck.
There were three strategies involved in getting the ship unstuck that can be applied to getting your business unstuck as well.
First, they tried digging the boat out of the sand. You’ve all probably seen that picture of the huge ship and the teeny tiny digger next to it. But use that image as a metaphor for digging out of your to-do list – the things that have been on your list for weeks or months that you just never get to. Pay the pile of invoices that have been sitting on your desk, schedule those employee or contractor feedback sessions, whatever has been hanging around on your list for the last few weeks…just do it and then check it off. Lesson one – Dig out!
Next, they unpacked a bunch of the shipping containers so that the boat wouldn’t be so heavy. The metaphor here is delegating! That’s right. Just as they unloaded hundreds of heavy cargo containers, you need to unload whatever tasks do not absolutely need to be done by you. You will be surprised by how much “lighter” you feel when you realize someone else is taking care of some of the items you used to worry about. Lesson two – Unload!
Finally, the rescue team realized that they could use the surrounding conditions to their advantage, specifically the higher tide. Once they had dug out the ship from the sand and unloaded a lot of weight to make the ship lighter, they relied on the higher tide to help float the boat and get it back into position to move through the canal.
Again, there is an applicable metaphor here.
Sometimes you just have to wait until conditions in your market or industry change a bit.
We are all seeing this now as more people get vaccinated and people’s comfort level with in-person interactions changes. The economy is going to come back with a vengeance. The dire economic conditions that we have all been dealing with will eventually end. If you do the hard work of digging out and lightening your load now, you will be ready to take full advantage when the conditions on the ground improve.
Here’s to smooth sailing for all of us!