Log-book 17-11-2019

The 1st Lesson: Hard on the Training Ground, Light in the Storm

Petra Štogrová Jedličková

I spent the previous month on a long-dreamed cruise on the Atlantic Ocean. It was an experience filled with strong emotions, physical exertion, new discoveries, continuous learning, euphoric moments and discomfort. All of this alternated from extreme to extreme like a well-balanced medicine for body and soul, restart (rather than relax). In order not to benefit from this medicine alone, I noted my daily observations in the logbook, observing the parallels between the management of the company and the sailing yacht in order to share them with you in a useful and applicable form.

The very first sailing day was a hard one: we were caught by a heavy storm, the wind blew the waves that rolled overboard, the ship thrashing and throwing itself like a wild horse. At 3:30 in the morning my colleague wakes me up saying, "Get up, you have a watch, take Kynedril and a life jacket." Because sleepy, I executed the command, and without thinking took the sea sickness pill - no heroism, as some others unfortunately try. Here, the immediate execution of the order paid off very well (and not only me) because I was one of the few who did not get the seasickness and therefore, I was able to support others with water and medicine. In drowsiness, in a fluttering micro-cabin, I was trying to quickly put on my sailing suit. It is difficult even on land, let alone in the dark on jumping yacht. It did not go well, therefore I let it be untightened. Then, without a second thought, I sit on the first free place on the deck, unfortunately just windward, so the waves go right by my neck and in a second I grab a bucket of water behind that badly tightened collar at the jacket. This makes me wet for the next 9 hours and can't do anything about it. I can be glad that I did not fall overboard since that badly tightened suit could easily cost me my life, or at least my laxity could endanger the lives of others. The deck was getting filled with zombies, the sea and the boat were illuminated by a magical moon, roaring wind turned into a mysterious melody of the sea. So even in the worst situation you can discover beauty and experience something magical.

After the storm the next day and I am learning my first lesson: when going challenging, it shows how well one was prepared and how many details one ignored, such as a tacky jacket collar or thrown line, on which one can very badly slip, forgotten glass, which I "clean up later", whose shards badly hurt, recklessly stored stuff that break all over the cabin, unprepared quick aids, etc. Fortunately, it ended with a few bruises and nausea, both soon disappeared, but still one can remember very well that the lessons learned were both meaningful and painful twice (literally) if you underestimate or deflate. In any case, such an experience will dig into memory so that it surpasses any hard drilling. You will never make such mistakes again and, in principle, preventively, even if it does not go too hard, you will honor the rules verified “on your own skin”.

My return to work is dominated by ISO audits these days, and although it is painful, I am glad that we have and honor these rules. But they only make sense if we live them every day with precision. Quality of work, security and data protection are critical to our business. Every day you can say, "It's still okay", "Next time", "It's nothing now," etc. But you never know when the storm will come and when it strikes it's too late!