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If you're not busy rowing you're either dead weight or rocking the boat.

One of my team members mentioned this the other day and I thought it was intriguing.

It brought back memories of white water rafting in Ohiopyle PA, on the Lower Youghiogheny River. I had organized trips both for college and my karate school on this class III or IV River. Ideally we would have 4-6 people per raft, with 2-3 per side.

The scenery was gorgeous, and the river was at times calm or challenging with waves. Sometimes we would just ride the waves with our oars on our laps, but at other times we would paddle furiously towards the direction of safety.

Then there would be moments of calm with very little current to carry us and we would have to leisurely paddle our way along to keep moving.

So this reminds me of life in an organization. Sometimes the business is calm and at other times it can be a little hectic. Depending on the situation, team members must pull in the right direction together. With multiple oars in the water the progress is faster and more successful.

I remember rafting again and if I looked back to catch someone just sitting there while 3 of us were rowing away, we were sure to share our feelings and a little bit of advice. It was especially noticeable if two people were rowing on one side but only one was rowing on the other, the raft would start to go in the wrong direction.

If someone isn't contributing to the success of the organization, they're likely holding the team back in some way. They are dead weight.

Of course it could be worse. They could be literally shaking the boat by disagreeing with our goals, objectives, or motives. Instead of rowing together for the good of the team, they negatively voice their opinion causing team dissension. Of course this is not good and it makes for a poor raft mate. It's only a matter of time before the other three members feel like throwing that person overboard.

I've learned that even if I don't agree, I can still row with my team members. Timing is also important as both sides of the boat must row at the same time or the boat will start to turn or be ineffective in its path. To successfully navigate dangerous white water rapids in a raft or to build a successful organization, there must be strong communication, teamwork, and synergy.

So remember, if you're not busy rowing, you're either dead weight or rocking the boat. Let's get rowing!


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