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Beating the Odds

Winning With Communication

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.— George Bernard Shaw


For a wonderful book on success, try “Ship of Gold in the Deep Blue Sea,” by Gary Kinder.

Though far from the athletic arena, it contains so many elements of being a champion: hard work, vision, perseverance, attention to detail, and strategy.

The story begins in the mid-19th century when a ship laden with treasure from the California Gold Rush sank in a hurricane off the coast of the Carolinas. About 150 years later, entrepreneurs decided to find the wreck and recover the treasure.

What finally made the difference between success and failure was a culture of open communication.

Early in the venture, the group decided that because of the extreme difficulty of the challenge, they had to create a culture where any suggestion, no matter how far-fetched, could be expressed without fear of ridicule.

That decision came in handy at the very end, where competitors and money worries were both closing in.

It seems that the explorers found a wreck that they BELIEVED was the one. But they had to be sure. They had neither the time nor the money for an unsuccessful operation.

That’s when someone spoke up with a VERY far-fetched theory. He imagined the moment of the sinking. Passengers had stuffed their pockets with gold, hoping for rescue. But at a certain moment, they saw the end, and so in an effort to save their lives, they threw the gold overboard to lighten themselves.

So to check if the wreck was the correct one, the explorers sent down a probe to collect sand from the seabed, to see if there were any gold flecks in it. There were. The venture ended in success, thanks to the culture of communication.

Question: How much value do you place on communication?


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