The Pacific Princess is the ship highlighted in The Love Boat.
Its sister, the Grand Princess, is a beautiful floating hotel where I spent an awesome 10-days on a cruise from San Francisco to Alaska. During that time, I learned a lot about myself, my relationships, how I depend on technology, and leadership.
Ten days to deliberately disconnect is a long time and yet, it’s so short in the long run. This week’s Wednesdays With Wayne brings you lessons from being at sea.
I didn’t bring my computer with me.
I brought my iPad “just in case” I convinced myself that I needed to log on or write. It stayed in the in-room safe the entire time.
I brought my phones and used them for photos, though I do admit to clearing over 400 messages at one port so that I wouldn’t have that many to come back to at the end of the cruise.
And what I realized is how simple life could be.
I’m a proponent of disconnecting. I do it in blocks of hours and really, have never done it in blocks of days. I got great clarity about what I have been filling my days with. And I think you’d be surprised to find that for yourself. If you did an accounting of your entire week, hour-by-hour, you’d be surprised at all of the places you let yourself get pulled.
Pick a day, perhaps a Saturday or a Sunday, to stay off of your tech. Your focus will come back in a way you probably haven’t experienced in a long time.
I missed my kids, my family, and my friends. I wondered how my dad was doing.
My main focus, though, was my wife. Shannon and I celebrated 15 years of marriage on this trip. We renewed our vows with the captain officiating. And as odd as it was, for 10 days, we spent almost the entire time together.
Can you say that you would enjoy spending every hour of every day next to your partner for a week-and-a-half?
By exploring new things every day, we strengthened our bond. We have a habit of doing something special with each other on a regular basis and, doing an extra special outing of some sort every quarter. That’s right, within 90 days, we have something to look forward to. Imagine what that does for our relationship! And think about how that makes the year roll by. We don’t dread any part of it and we have some good times to look back on.
Our experience was exceptional. We felt really cared for. And because I’m curious about organizational culture, I asked various members of the crew about their experience. Every single one of them – EVERY SINGLE ONE – said that they loved this captain. Each of them explained in their own way how he showed that he cared about them.
And THAT is the key to a great customer experience. The leader must show that each team member matters. Captain John Harry Smith knows that.
When I spoke with Captain Smith, he told me that he bleeds red the same as any of his crew. He noted that if the dishwashers weren’t happy, the cooks wouldn’t be happy. If the cooks weren’t happy, the servers couldn’t be happy. And if the servers weren’t happy, the guests weren’t happy. He talked about how he went out of his way to create special gifts and ashore programs for his crew members. He commented about how they weren’t all getting the best pay, so giving them some good experiences was what he could do to show he cared.
And it worked.
Shannon and I had a great time aboard. We’ve booked our next cruise, in fact. Disconnecting allowed me to reset my sleep. Exploring new things every day helped us get even closer. And getting to talk with senior leadership aboard this ship only underscored what the theories of leadership tell us:
Keep making your magic.
See you here next week!
~ Dr P ~