Carnival Cruise Corporation began in 1972. The company couldn’t afford a new ship, so they bought an old beaten-up one. Their cruises consequently took longer than their competitors’ to reach the same destinations. Instead of giving up, Carnival added discos and other amenities to keep their passengers entertained while on board. By doing so, the company reinvented the cruise industry, and today is the largest cruise line in the world and is known as “The Fun Ship” Cruise Line.
The leaders of Carnival had their original agenda, but it was knocked off track. As a result, they had three choices:
1) Give it their all – holding to their vision and reinvent themselves to meet their challenges.
2) Give up and move on – objectively assessing the upside and downside and deciding their best move is to exit.
3) Give away their choice – blame it on something outside, such as competition, market conditions, etc., and whine into a slow death…
Individuals also have these same three choices when their agenda is high jacked by unseen challenges or problems. Choices one and two are focus by a larger purpose and an assumed personal responsibly. Both are wins and driven by love, humility and confidence. The third choice is fueled by fear, personal ambition and pride. Third-choice people blame such things as their co-workers’ attitudes, a mean boss, entitled career track or team members who “just don’t understand me” for their place in life.
This third choice is attractive to many people, because it comes with built-in excuses and, if it ended there, all would be well. The sad and disruptive truth is the third-choice guy is often spending his or her energy trying to undermine the reason or person they hold responsible for their missed opportunity, instead of making a first or second choice and moving on toward their new vision.
Most of our short-term agendas are interrupted and adjusted without a hitch every day, but life-long agenda curve balls can be different. Personal and family losses are often among the hardest, but I have found that one of the toughest agenda crises is not getting the work promotion you expected and had worked toward for many years. This can be even more difficult when you have to report to the person who now has the job you believed you deserved – and their agenda becomes your new agenda.
As more and more baby boomer executives are aging out to retirement, I am often seeing three or four managers inside the organization vying for the same top-level position. Which means at least two or three very disappointed people are now expected to move on and lead under the supervision of a past peer. This is tough, but like all of us- they have three choices.
Each of us has choices when our agenda gets derailed. Will your choice be to become a fun ship, find a new ship or a stay on a slowly sinking and stinking ship when a big change takes you way off course in your leadership and life?
The fears we flee from are those that eventually master us. Those we face, shrink away from us and become as nothing. — Max Brand, author of western novels
For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. — 2nd book of Timothy 1:17 NIV Bible
It ain’t the heat, it’s the humility. — Yogi Berra, baseball player
When you have to make a choice and don’t make it, that is in itself a choice. — William James, psychologist
We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses. — Abraham Lincoln, US president
It is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities. — J.K. Rowling, author & playwright