Avoiding The Lighthouse!

lighthouseThe auDA is moving into unchartered waters with regards direct registrations. As I wrote yesterday, they need to make sure that they avoid the lighthouse that lies directly ahead.

I used that analogy because it reminded me of one of my favourite Stephen Covey stories – “The Lighthouse Principle”. For anyone that hasn’t heard of Covey, he is the famous author of “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”.

Whilst you may end up smiling at the end of this story, it does have some good lessons in it.

The Lighthouse Principle

It was a dark and stormy night.

Crewmember: “Captain, Captain, wake up.”

Captain: “Well?”

Crewmember: “Sorry to wake you, sir, but we have a serious problem.”

Captain: “Well, what is it?”

Crewmember: “There’s a ship in our sea lane about twenty miles away, and they refuse to move.”

Captain: “What do you mean they refuse to move? Just tell them to move.”

Crewmember: “Sir, we have told them; they will not move.”

Captain: “I’ll tell them.”

The signal goes out: “Move starboard 20 degrees.”

The signal returns: “Move starboard yourself 20 degrees.”

Captain: “I can’t believe this. Well, I mean I’m a captain. Let them know who I am. I’m important.”

Signal goes out: “This is Captain Horatio Hornblower XXVI, commanding you to move starboard 20 degrees at once.”

Signal returns: “This is Seaman Carl Jones II, commanding you to move starboard 20 degrees at once .”

Captain: “What arrogance? I mean, what presumption? Here is a seaman commanding me, a captain. We could just blow them right out of the water. Let them know who we are.

Signal: “This is the Mighty Missouri, flag ship of the 7th Fleet.”

The signal returns: “This is the lighthouse. Your call.”

Guess who changed course? 🙂

In Conclusion

Covey also raised these three salient points:

  • Values drive behavior. Principles drive the consequences of behavior. I may want to impress you in a particular way or sell something to you. But, if I don’t talk straight and don’t tell you the truth, and you know that, the natural consequence is you will not trust me.
  • Humility is the mother, I suggest, of all principles.
  • The opposite of humility is arrogance. Nothing derails people’s careers or their organisations more than arrogance.

What do you think?


Disclaimer 2

4 thoughts on “Avoiding The Lighthouse!

  • December 9, 2016 at 2:42 pm

    AUDA needs to address the tainted nature of the original vote rather than simply saying it is up to the current board to reverse it. What legal advice has AUDA had about that vote?

    Secondly where are the minutes of the AGM? Given attendance was low it is vital that AUDA get the minutes out quickly to adequately inform its members. How hard can it be to type up some minutes?

    Anonymous likes this.
    • December 9, 2016 at 3:05 pm

      @Snoopy – still waiting for Minutes from November meeting; and the Agenda for next week’s meeting. I emailed auDA about this early this morning, and was told they would be uploaded today.

      Anonymous likes this.
      • December 9, 2016 at 5:00 pm

        When will this snake shed its skin?

        Patterns of fairly informal Board practices over a period of some 15 years • In our view, these practices have not kept pace with auDA’s growth in scale and importance to the Australian community, nor with evolving good practice in governance and accountability.

        Ralph report – auDA Board Review – Report for Governance Committee [Oct-2016]


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  • December 10, 2016 at 1:26 pm


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