N2 People Skills

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Super Yacht crew - Communication

We each grow up in very different surroundings,   we take and leave some of our parent's culture with us on our own voyage of discovery. Through formal education and travel we add and subtract opinions and views of the world. How we deal with everyday chores and how we interact with others, how we look at any given situation, for each of us becomes our own way, our own preferences and part of our personality.

Figure 1.0.A system of cognition, its parts that affect each other, that together produce an effect that is different from the effect of each part on its own. The effect, the behavior over time, persists in a variety of circumstances.

We don't look at things the same way. It is impossible unless you can see through the eyes of another person (physically). The closest we may get to that is at the movies, and if you read several different reviews of the same movie, you will quickly see that even though we may see the same thing (movie), we all perceive and process the information differently. So not understanding each other very well, even when speaking the same language, is not as rare as you may think (80% of maritime accidents are contributed to human error).

A Super Yacht can have anywhere from 8-60 crew (many times from different countries and cultures), and of mixed age and sex,  add this with the fact that humans spend 70% of a working day in some form of communication, with approximately 65% of this is non verbal communication, and you start to see the value of understanding the different ways individuals and teams prefer to take in information, process it, and how this can make a big impact on safety, risk management, and service levels.

Starting at about two O'clock, (see Fig 1.0) you see 'Focusing Attention' in the 'Outer World' and the 'Inner World'. These are referring to  Extraversion and Introversion, your general attitude and energizer. At five O'clock you see 'Receiving and Perception', taking in your information. At seven O'clock  you have 'Making decisions.' You have information and need to make a decision, what to do with the information, or what to do because of it. At eleven O'clock you have 'Living in the World,' what ever it is you have decided, how do you go about it in the world.
You think that because you understand "one" that you must therefore understand "two" because one and one make two. But you forget that you must also understand "and."
                                                                                                                   ~Sufi teaching story
The simplified and basic look at a system of cognition (Fig 1.0) shows elements dealing with the function of communication, its process and parts, preferred and non preferred. What it does not show, is how these elements interact, are interconnected with each other and the relationships that hold the elements together, or the individuals preferences. The interconnections in the system are physical flows and chemical reactions that govern our moods, emotions and actions. Neurons, cells in the brain are involved in the reception, integration, and transmission of signals (the interconnections). But before we go and loose sight of the forest for the trees, lets go back to the function of communication aboard the Super Yacht, more specifically communication in Super Yacht Crew Resource Management.

Communication & CRM
The functions are:
  • To convey information.
  • To establish interpersonal and team relationships.
  • To establish predictable behavior and expectations.
  • To maintain attention to task and situational awareness.
  • To act as a management tool.

These are integral to safety, service and efficiency on board the Super Yacht. For these functions to work and be used correctly it is necessary to make sure that we understand not only how the parts interact together, but how our systems, as individuals and as a team work together. A system is more than the sum of its parts.