Smooth Seas Never Made Skilled Sailors

The most effective leaders instill grit and grace in their team. Prof David DeSteno in his recent HBR article on “Managing People” suggested that the best way to do so is by cultivating three specific emotions: gratitude, compassion, and pride.

Cultivating three specific emotions: gratitude, compassion, and pride.

Inspired from how my program team brought back the ‘ship’ into a stable state, and how the leadership team instilled grit and grace in the team, I put my thoughts in a poem, if you will :).

Interestingly that is one such transformation that I am focusing on at the ISB’s PGPPRO program, which is focused on core Leadership and Strategy. While managing schedules between school and profession is truly challenging, what is more motivating is knowing “That the Smooth Seas never made Skilled Sailors”.

In an attempt to instill that grace, a few weeks back I led a SAFe Program Increment planning for my program, and I took the whole introduction session to another level by narrating a ‘motivational’ poem to the whole program team, and worth mentioning – appreciating the leadership team for their efforts in making the program successful.

Let us keep sailing!!!

The tides were high, and furious looked the sea,

Winds were strong, but so determined were we,

We hit an iceberg earlier, so we looked little pale,

With the will of a thunderstorm, you said – “Once Again! We Sail”,

We took on the hooks, not for a moment we were afraid,

Loosely coupled and strongly aligned was the principle we laid

An island of value for our customers, is what you envisioned,

And a promise to bring it for them, we made,

We will pave our way through the ambiguities that are dense,

For we all know, the purpose and support is immense,

This moment is ours and exciting times to scale,

Today we meet again, to strengthen our sail,

A lesson of life we learned from our leaders,

That the smooth seas never made skilled sailors.


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