A change can do you good.
So this blog covers the same topic from several different perspectives. The topic is change, normally in operating procedures but it can affect other aspects of a yacht too. This blog is an important one as I consistently have crew complaining about the changes to an existing regime and thought I would try and add another viewpoint to it, as on occasion there are those who can embrace the changes made.
The below is a scenario from differing angles
A new Captain or Head of Department joins a Yacht and starts making wholescale changes to everything as they want to run the boat their way. At the time of the changes they have had little exposure to the crew, none to the owner but that doesn’t matter at this stage & they want to stamp their mark on the boat, and they know the best way of running things.
But this is Scenario 1 from a different perspective; The new Captain or HOD joins and realises quite quickly that there are fundamental flaws in the operating procedures across the board, standards are low and sets about changing things.
Obviously, if you were the existing Crew in this scenario there would be resistance. Between them they have got used to their own work patterns and have no desire to adapt to something new. Additionally, they have got very comfortable getting away with sloppy work and working harder to rectify this has little appeal.
Is when a new crew member joins a yacht and their constant refrain is ‘when I was on Motor Yacht Amazing we did it like this…..’. No one wants to hear that, and it gets very boring very quickly. An extension of this is to simply ignore the instructions because ‘they know better’ and you go off and do your own thing. This is hugely frustrating to a HOD. You don’t know the bigger picture so follow your orders.
Something we hear quite a lot of is relatively junior members of crew, both on the interior and exterior, telling us that ‘Motor Yacht Shambles’ isn’t run the way they think it should be. Occasionally there is some merit to these claims, but more often it’s a slightly deluded junior crew member who mistakenly believes their 4 months of experience means that they know what they are talking about.
A deckhand joins a new yacht after 2 years on his previous boat which is actually a very well-run operation which has great on-board training and a real culture of professional development. After bedding in and proving he knows his stuff he makes some small suggestions on how things could be improved only to be shot down by the Chief Officer who has the attitude of ‘if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.’
To everyone who joins a new yacht, whether in a position of power or as a junior on board I would make a few suggestions. If you are the one who gets to dictate the changes then take some time to examine why things are done the way they are. If there is a legitimate reason to change things, then communicate why you are making the changes to your team. Don’t make changes just because you can and don’t make too many changes too quickly. Work out what your priorities are that absolutely have to change and then work downwards to the least. The long serving crew will be resistant so a softly, softly approach will bear more fruit than being a dictator.
If you are existing crew then try and be receptive to change. Chances are that you will learn another method of doing things and that expands your knowledge which is always a good thing. Worst case scenario is you know for a fact that the other way is superior. Listen to the crew underneath you if they have suggestions to make. Sometimes one of these suggestions will be a gold nugget that will make you work more efficiently / safely / quickly. It also encourages a learning environment where your team are thinking about work and will develop faster. They will also be stimulated professionally, more likely to stay longer etc. Definitely a positive. Hopefully this will make a few people think about this subject and how receptive they are to change.
Look forward to hearing your thoughts.
PS to some of the people I have spoken to recently who have genuine grievances this isn’t directed at you!