N2 People Skills

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Does your yacht suffer from poor recruitment?

Whether it's a Captain you need or Deckhand; Poor recruitment = poor ownership experience + higher € running costs of a yacht.

 It's never easy finding new crew, and for many the need can arise when there is little time to spare. For those that choose to use multiple agencies because of time, decisions are paramount to successfully filling your position. 

Without good communication recruiters can end up with incomplete information to go on and end up looking to job title and responsibilities. With hundreds of applicants found on a web site within a few hours of a job being posted, along with tens of thousands of crew on agencies books, you may quickly be inundated with CVs'. 
The question is, are they right for your needs?

If you go by job title and responsibilities alone, the job may well get done. But how the job gets done is another question. Are you actively doing something wrong, or are you  failing to actively do something right?

For top of the line service and safety onboard it ultimately comes down to not 'what' is done but 'HOW' it is done. Without this information you or a recruiter can  be looking at the wrong things in crew and missing the right things. RESULTING in less than perfect candidates.
As you are overwhelmed with CVs from agencies you may be asking: 
"Why am I paying to just get a slew of CV's."  

Yes the applicants may well fit the job title, and know 'what' to do, but how do you know, they know 'HOW' the job needs to be done?

While there is no simple answer the fact is that any new employee will always be a risk.  This is good reason why many top companies use a two, three or four interview selection process for their top positions. Along with this they integrate various tools to help create deeper dialogue with applicants so they can see how they work best, and if this fits with the company culture. 

Yet today few agents, captains or owners use any of these methods, and what's more astounding on a yacht is every position is a top position!  From the laundry person to the captain,  "HOW" a job is done, and how a crew are led matters to the overall ownership experience. 
Because of the many different styles of leadership and owners, understanding the HOW becomes critical to successful recruitment.  If recruiters and crew are not consciously aware of 'HOW' things need to be done, it can lead to creating a catch 22 in recruitment and a trap of errors of omission.
The yacht may feel they have recruited the right person because the crew had the qualifications, skills, and references to do what needed to be done. Yet the new recruit ends up not doing something that should have been done. This is an error of omission.
Many crew are let go, not because they did the wrong thing, but more frequently because of what they did not do. This error of omission: not doing something that should have been done, can become a lost opportunity of learning as the cycle starts all over again.
Poor recruitment frequently happens because of not doing something that should have been done. A question not asked of employer or employee can end with someone failing to actively do something right or not acting when action was warranted.  Good communication is key to recruitment and developing a great team, and ultimately how one gets to top ownership experience. 
In order for a superyacht owner to get the quality of service and the experience they pay highly for, recruitment from the very first to last crew member must be looked at with the same eye for detail that stability is looked at when a yacht is designed and built.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Superyachts and interpersonal situations gone wrong...THE WAY OUT

Starting out a new day, most of us prepare ourselves before we leave our home or cabin. We take time to a look in a mirror, check clothing, scrutinize hair and face, and make sure everything is looking good before setting off to start our day. We check in with our outer selves.

But despite best efforts, sometimes things do not go as planned, and we are faced with interpersonal situations that are uncomfortable and can quickly put us in a position where we feel awkward, on edge, and frustrated.  

It can happen in a minute, all is well and then bang. 

You didn't do anything to set this situation off, in fact you were in a good mood up to this point, right! 
So what went wrong with this person to cause the problem?


Let's look at a situation and a common clue.  We are creatures of habit. Day after day we go about work the way we always have. We work in ways that feel comfortable and natural to us without thinking much about them. Often we get good results, and this reaffirms our ways and habits. 
The problem is, the usual ways do not always yield good results, and here in our example you have reached such a point.

A point where know it or not, you are stuck in one or more of the following:

Stuck assuming the other person is the problem.
Stuck working with difficult people.
Stuck with people not wanting to listen.
Stuck thinking about yourself in a certain way.
And stuck doing things the same way over and over.

Situations like this happen all the time for all of us. Whether in a relationship, a team, or just dealing with a cabin mate or other crew. We get into a situation and for many the first thing that comes to mind when you have a people problem is...


No matter what your position onboard, it's easy to feel like it's the other person with the problem, not you. After all you didn't say anything to upset anyone.... Or did you?

Perhaps its time to take a close look at 65% of communication and the non-verbal part. 
What is your body, your attitude, your behaviour, and your empathy, even compassion (or lack of it) saying? 
What is it that you can not see from your perspective and situation that others can, and are you sure you are reading this person's communication correctly? 

George Bernard Shaw once said:

"The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place."

FROM day one we learn and are taught to speak, point, gesture, ask, tell, even demand. Yet we are only vaguely shown how to really communicate, and in most cases predominantly with speech. 

Today we are know that non-verbal communication is around 65% of our communication. Yet few people take time to learn such things as their own preferences, or discover how their own point of view can change their thinking, feelings and behaviour, and affect communication.

INSTEAD we get stuck looking at communication one dimensionally. Whether being led or leading, managed or managing, making decisions or being directed, you and I have preferences in how we prefer to see things happen, do them, and communicate them. If we only look from one perspective of what is verbally spoken then it is like a blind man only using touch to understand his environment. You are getting an incomplete picture of what is going on.

But this is what happens for many, we set the auto-pilot and do the same old things the same way, over and over again. Unconsciously hoping for different results!


Setting the auto pilot tends to switch off other things and can mean missing vital information. As you take your minds eye off what is happening right now (situation awareness), you miss signals and information.

When confronted with someone venting you may simply look at the person, not the situation. Forgetting you are driven (on autopilot) by your own preferences, you look at the communication as is someone that complaining and maybe lazy. If confronted with arguing you may feel this person is ignorant, or perhaps if someone does not speak up about an important issue and you might think they are stupid. 

This is backseat driving. You are not getting all the information because you are only seeing it from a one dimensional perspective. 

Thinking you know best in a situation without taking in all the information available can get you stuck. Worse still, when interpersonal situations are not really dissolved (but seemingly solved), you may not see the results of your actions right away. What can happen instead is results surface days or weeks down the road in the form of behaviour, and this behaviour is invariably not seen as the result of the past problem, but looked at as another unrelated issue to deal with.  

The result again, blame and another missed opportunity to dissolve a problem, learn from a situation and create a better working relationship. Instead this is when people leave a job or get let go!


How do you get unstuck, or better still how do you stop getting stuck in the first place?

The obvious and easy answer is to CHANGE. But as history shows, change is anything but easy and rarely straight forward.

Luckily the changes required here do not mean you have to change yourself or others, instead it's about changing how you see and deal with situations. It is a change of perspective that is required.


We need to look at situations from more than one perspective. One that gives a truer idea of how others see things, and may be reading your non-verbal communication.

This can feel awkward to begin, and requires courage. You have to look inward and ask yourself to consider why you feel a certain way, why you are doing something in a particular way, why a particular person is annoying you, or why you are reacting in a certain way to this person’s behaviour, speech and/or action.

This is self-reflection, or mindfulness in its simplest form. It about asking yourself thought-provoking questions to help develop a deeper understanding about yourself. And it’s this path of knowing one’s inner resources, abilities and limits that leads to a greater understanding of self, and so others.

As leading author, internationally renown psychologist, and leadership lecturer Daniel Goleman writes in ‘Working with Emotional Intelligence’

People with this competence are:
·      Aware of their strength and weaknesses.
·      Reflective, learning from experience.
·      Open to candid feedback, new perspectives, continuous learning, and self development.
·      Able to show a sense of humour and perspective about themselves.

These building blocks of good communication will (when applied) offer new perspectives. Through self reflection you can find answers to many situations that were simply places you reacted and got stuck before.

By having a well developed sense of self-awareness, you are far better placed to see, hear, feel, even sense better options.


Let’s imagine you’re situation is having to navigate a difficult passage through Islands to get to an anchorage. Islands are all about and the visibility is not good. Fog has moved in and you can’t see half the Islands. You need a dependable instrument to help you see, such as a radar.

You may not have an interpersonal radar but there are excellent tools that can help your self-reflection and self development, and one such tool we recommend is Everything DiSC.

This is a personal development assessment that measures an individual’s tendencies and priorities. It is designed to support your own understanding of your work-related behaviours, the behaviours of others, and help you apply this knowledge in work situations.

Unlike many other personality assessments Everything DiSC assessment is written for a nontechnical audience so there is no need for long winded training, no complicated graphs, and no magical x-ray vision. Everything DISC simply offers wisdom about interpersonal dynamics that has been developed through psychological research and theory to help you use this knowledge to improve relationships and performance in a variety of diverse contexts. 

Just as yachts have radar and electronic chart plotters to aid safe navigation and view things differently. Leaning about yourself aids in learning about others. Using these tools will significantly help you learn and be far better placed to see a situation clearly

As the late great Russell Ackoff wrote in regards to human interactions and perception.

“No two slices of an orange are exactly the same; but the more slices you examine the more complete picture of an oranges you will see. It is through efforts to make different perceptions compatible that the whole truth can be approximated. The truth does not emerge from efforts to eliminate all perceptions but one. The truth is what makes it apparent that different perceptions of the same thing are, in fact, different perceptions of the same thing, not different things.

Viewing things differently is not a defect: but an advantage. It is only by viewing problems differently and evaluating those differences that the most effective treatments can be found.”

If you are ready to take a step towards gaining new perspectives call us today or simply invest in yourself and get your profile.