This book can teach you to sail a boat, your business, and your life. Each requires a voyage and a destination, a goal, and decisions on how to get there safely, effectively and successfully. This book will help the sailor do better business and the business person sail their company into the future. The success in this type of sailing is not determined solely by finances but on how well you integrate your values. A true measure of legacy is integrity. Integrating people, planet, and purpose with your profit will help you win the race. Sailing Your Business uses the metaphor of sailing to help you integrate integrated systems approach into your business strategy. Our team building workshops help everyone get on board to build resilience and speed over water. With just ten years to dramatically change many systems so to protect our atmosphere learning how to sail in trouble waters may save more than your company, it may help to save the planet. Sailing Your Business seamlessly integrates sustainability into stakeholder practice. Just like in a boat you have to set your sails to the prevailing winds if you want to make progress over water. However, you choose to measure value I am sure this book will help you to launch an exciting voyage while having more fun.
The author Daisy Carlson, built her business from backpack to international notoriety with a robust corporate social responsibility framework. Carlson lived between Sausalito, New York, and Italy but more recently has docked in Marin County.
Note from the author:
The wind howls as I huddle under the Bimmeny. The sun is beginning it's decent and glistening on the currents crests. The tide is going out so fast, I can see a distant kayaker fighting against the current to reach the shore. Many boats are rocking in the strong breeze as the wind whistles through and halyards play bells on the masts.
If all these boats were business which would succeed?
Each vessel has operating systems, honed by their skippers, each skipper has been faced with makeshift days and the array of choices they force themselves to afford at the local chandlery. Some skippers invest in all the glory days and good looks, but would not be able to get across the bay in a fair wind, others have afforded themselves nothing but a dream and have set out across the seven seas in 30 feet of wood planking and hand-sewn canvas sails. In this harbor, there is at least one example of each and everything in the middle. It wasn’t until I myself took up sailing and boat ownership that I realized the same principles that apply to successful sailing apply to a successful business.
When I pulled myself from my own boat, to captain my most challenging vessel lost in troubled seas, my business, that finally learned to be a sailor and a captain. Each morning when I take my place at the helm of 26th and fifth avenue in NY, I read the tides, check the winds, and set my course. There have been days of fair sailing and others hold up in dark coves trying to avoid the pirates, there have been tempests that have challenged every muscle in my body. As you can imagine after several decades of voyaging on a small business much like a hand-built wooden boat there have been rewards and mishaps, days of plenty and days when not a fish in the sea would bite. We were a wooden boat in a sea of commercial yachts, yet somehow we prevailed profitably.
The basic principles in becoming a successful captain and keeping any size boat, your business, afloat whatever the size is as follows. Chart your course, know your destination, maintain your operating systems, trim your sails to the prevailing winds and most importantly act with dignity and fair play. Do not compromise your crew or neglect your mission or your vessel.
They say sailing is 90% boredom and 10% sheer terror. I would say this is true of business as well. Yet both sailing and business ownership are very compelling. In sailing the analogies are so loaded with Homeric odysseys and traveling tales. To the true business owner, there is an I would hope the same sort of poetry, if not my recommendation would be to jump ship.
Select your voyages, your crew, and your ship wisely. Know that the value of sailing a boat is not just the destination but the voyage. The value of a business is not just a mono-crop of money but an opportunity to build community and great service. Business’ too express much value in the journey. I challenge sailors to rise to the opportunity of integrated systems thinking and sustainability standards, the rewards of this are immeasurable. Mission-driven business' that integrate social and material responsibility last longer, provide authentic service and as we have seen recently are often more profitable and valuable on the open market. We are not just talking about solar panels we are talking about operating your company by integrating natures limits and evolved intelligence to guide our voyage.
There are only so many days in our short life what we do with those days and what legacy we leave is up to you.
There are several reasons to take to the water. A summer holiday, a race on the bay, the lighted boat parade and cruising. Cruising is linked to destination sailing that was once an integral part of world commerce. Bringing spices and stories of distant lands. The trade winds are the winds that brought merchant vessels safely home with their precious cargo. I will begin this book for the merchant sailors of our day, navigating phone lines, the world wide web. Orchestrating cargo and services around the world. Pirates must be ready to convert or be reckoned with. We will explore how to prep our vessel, gather our crew, practice our strategy and hone our skills for speed and agility as well as for weathering storms. We will indulge in the glory of the race, and winning with fair play and skill.
In the words of Janine Benyus, biomimicry has three aspects to it:
Biomimicry is an exciting emergent discipline which explores how nature works and how we can learn from nature to solve human problems. Humans have been learning from other species for many thousands of years, yet biomimicry as a formal concept is more recent. The word itself, “biomimicry”, was coined by Janine Benyus (author of the book ‘Biomimicry’) and originates from the Greek bios (life) and mimesis (imitation).
In the words of Janine Benyus, biomimicry has three aspects to it:
After years of work with ecologists, Janine Benyus pulled together Nature’s Laws:
To provide guidance to designers using biomimicry, the Biomimicry Institute has developed a framework based on the principles and conditions under which life operates referred to as ‘Life’s Principles’:
Examples of innovative biomimicry designs include:
• British Telecom used a biological model based on ant behavior to overhaul its phone network, avoiding a 10-year multi-£bn exercise.
As exemplified by the innovations described above, biomimicry, in the main, has been applied to product design, manufacturing, green chemistry, structural planning, and architecture. However, nature’s wisdom can also inspire and inform organizational transformation. Such emulation of nature’s genius for organisational structures, processes and people behaviour may be better described as ‘bio-inspired’ rather than biomimetic, as it is not limited to scientific extrapolations and copying nature but also metaphorical and behavioral based inspiration, although perhaps still falling within the third part of Benyus’ definition of Biomimicry: ‘nature as mentor’.
Our understanding of nature has evolved over the last few decades, from viewing nature as a battleground of competition to one of dynamic non-equilibrium, where an order within chaos prevails due to unwritten natural patterns, feedback loops, behavioral qualities, interdependencies and collaboration within and throughout ecosystems. Nature adapts within limits and creates conditions conduce for life. Recent discoveries in microbiology and quantum mechanics uncover the importance of cellular membranes in the adaptation and evolution of organisms. Likewise, the perceptions and beliefs of the individual, organization, and ecosystem can affect their ability to sense, respond, adapt and evolve to volatility in their environment.
The more we grapple with the challenges our businesses now face in these volatile times, the more we realize that nature’s patterns and behaviors can inspire approaches for our own evolutionary success in business and beyond.
The more we build a bridge between business and nature, the more we realize what good business sense really is.
Biomimicry for Creative Innovation (BCI), a collaborative of specialists applying ecological thinking for radical transformation, has developed a set of Business Principles for The Firm of The Future (developed from the Life Principles created by the Biomimicry Institute).
Nature’s Business Principles
Navigate by Values
These Business Principles build on a wide set of existing business theories and are not aimed at providing perfection in organizational design (if such would ever exist). They provide a framework to guide successful transformation towards a Firm of The Future, a business inspired by nature.