When the unexpected happens in business, we often scramble to take the steps needed to survive. Then we try to figure out what to do next.
In sea kayaking, that is a bad idea. A paddler’s survival depends on taking short-term and long-term survival steps when you capsize. Here are the nine steps to escape from your kayak when you are cold, upside-down, under water and in the dark:
- Lean forward to take tension off the spray skirt
- Grab the handle of the spray skirt
- Pull the handle forward to clear the cockpit cowling
- Lift up (which is really down) to release the spray skirt
- Drop out of the kayak
- Grab your paddle on the way down (which is really down)
- Grab the boat on the way up
- Clear the water
Actually, the last step is the survival step…and most of the preceding steps have that one in mind. In order to survive, you have to breathe. (Ask me how I know!)
It is not all about breathing…
But read that list again. Two of the steps have nothing to do with getting to air. Steps 6 & 7.
- Grabbing your paddle is critical once you get back in the kayak and want to control your direction.
- Grabbing your boat is critical if you don’t want the wind to blow it away.
If you think being up a creek without a paddle is a problem, try being in Puget Sound without your boat!
Don’t forget the steps that will set you up for success
If you had not planned ahead for what you would do in a capsize, my guess is you would frantically scramble to get out of the boat and get your head above water. You might even have thought to grab the paddle.
I would not have thought to grab the boat. Luckily, I learned about kayak capsize and rescue from people with more experience. They knew how important it would be to grab the boat. They knew that a strong wind can blow the boat away faster than I can swim after it.
As you identify survival-level threats in your business, be sure to plan for the steps to survive the threat…but also the steps that set you up for what you’ll need to do next. And since you don’t know what you don’t know, run those plans by business colleagues and advisers who might have more experience.