The award-wining marketing expert, Jeff Ogden. President of Find New Customers, is currently reading a book which was recommended by his son, Matthew, who is a senior at the University of Delaware, entitled The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, which is one of the best selling books of all time.
In this book, Mr. Covey is writing about the idea of the Paradigm Shift when he writes a great story about a paradigm-shifting story told by Frank Koch in Proceedings, the magazine of The Naval Institute, which I want to share with the readers of this blog. Enjoy it!
Two battleships assigned to the training squadron had been at sea on maneuvers in heavy weather for several days. I was serving in the lead battleship and was on watch on the bridge as night fell.
The visibility was poor with patchy fog, so the captain remained on the bridge keeping an eye on all activities.
Shortly after dark, the lookout on the bridge reported:
“Light bearing on the starboard bow.”
“Is it steady or moving astern!” the captain called out.
Lookout replied “Steady, captain.” which meant we were on a dangerous collision course with that ship.
The captain then called to the signalman “Signal that ship. We are on a dangerous collision course, Advise you to change course 20 degrees.”
“I’m a seaman second class.” came the reply “You had better change course 20 degrees.”
By that time, the captain was furious. He spat out “Send. I am a battleship. Change course 20 degrees!”
Back came the flashing light “I’m a lighthouse.”
We changed course.
Principles are like lighthouses. They are natural laws that cannot be broken. You can order a ship to change course, but not a lighthouse.
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