A different type of shark encounter

Business, great white, kimi wernerIf you have been bitten by the process bug, like me, then you always see parallels between business, process, and everyday life. It drives my wife, mother, and friends crazy, but I always see them, and it is usually in the context of how I can make the process better at the airport, church, restaurant, Boy Scout meeting, football game, etc. (You get the picture).

Yesterday, I was trolling Twitter and saw a post to this video about a girl free-diving with a great white shark. If you grew up when I did (think movie Jaws), the title of this video is one of the most frightening things you can imagine. I decided to check the video out and was very surprised by the video and the parallel it made for me to process. Here are my initial observations.

It is about fit not winning

The main thing I gleaned from this video and Kimi Werner is a degree of self-actualization that you don’t see in many people, and especially in many companies. In the way she was raised and has chosen to live, she looks for balance and benefit for all, not winning. All too often, in business, we work in an “us against them” posture. Kimi says…

“I don’t really feel it should be Man AND the Ecosystem…. I believe Man is part of the Ecosystem. Realizing that helps me to strive to find my place in it.”

What would happen if organizations follow the same approach to find their place in their ecosystem versus massive growth or the highest marketshare?

Being selective, resources matter

When Kimi talks about spear fishing, she says, “You get one breath, one drop, and one shot to get one fish.” This is how she collects and uses resources. All too often, I’ve seen businesses not make these hard decisions. They want to be everything to everyone and spend resources (usually human resources) in areas not aligned with their place in the ecosystem; all in an attempt to win.

Preparation is key – there will be sharks

Kimi describes when she first entered the water. Her head was still out of the while she adjusted her mask and her camera man started tapping her. She knew what she was going to see when she put her head underwater, and it frightened her to the point she squealed. But all of her years of spearfishing prepared her for the encounter and how to read fish. Because she read the shark as being in docile posture, she began swimming towards it, and she found that she and the shark weren’t all that different.

“This moment really confirmed to me that we are all so vulnerable and so dependent on one another and we have to take care of one another.”

Watch the video and let me know what you glean from it.


Categories: BPM, Continuous Improvement, Process Management

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6 Comments on “A different type of shark encounter”

  1. Jim Smith
    May 10, 2013 at 8:04 am #

    “If you have been bitten by the process bug, like me, then you always see parallels between business, process, and everyday life. It drives my wife, mother, and friends crazy, but I always see them, and it is usually in the context of how I can make the process better at the airport, church, restaurant, Boy Scout meeting, football game, etc. (You get the picture)”.

    Jefferson offered some advice for you while he was trying to bring the constitutional debate to its conclusion. He ended the debate with a one sentence speech, “gentlemen, no more good must be attempted than the people can bear”.

  2. May 10, 2013 at 8:49 am #

    Jim, thanks for that note and that is where I’ve had to come to in my life. I could easily alienate everyone in my life with my incessant improvement suggestions, but I have to take a broader look at things.

    I picked this up many years ago in my Community Health work. I understood the science behind needing to tell someone that high-fat foods were not good for them, but who am I to say the time they spent with their family every Sunday around the table wasn’t worth that risk. There is a broader definition of “right” that I’ve learned to consider, and I think I saw that in the video of Kimi Werner swimming with the shark.

    Thanks for sharing.

    • May 14, 2013 at 10:47 pm #

      I agree with you Ron. I too have changed my perspective. I do not look into other people’s backyards, without surveying their whole property. You can never tell what’s happening behind closed doors. There’s much in our lives, and the lives of others, that we don’t see. We simply aren’t able to see behind the scenes when we’re sitting in the audience. The Worker in Me by Tracey Maguire explores this concept at the most grounded level. She’s a writer because she was landed with a story. It’s a true story, but the truth is often stranger than fiction. Don’t be a stranger, pick up her thread and see where she goes with it. Is she a born marketer? That’s what we’re all trying to ascertain.

      • May 15, 2013 at 6:13 am #

        norsejessicastalsmith, thanks for the note! I’m going to check out that book recommendation.

  3. May 24, 2013 at 6:04 pm #

    Hello Ron, what a great video clip ! I believe that Kimi’s philosophy for life is a testamony to island life. It is a wonderful metaphor for both collaboration, partnership and sustainability. Taking only what is needed, appreciation for the gift and a harmony between personal values and a scarce resource. Having also grown up on a small pacific island I know the connectedness that Kimi has at her essence with her enviroment as spiritual. In terms of process, perhaps this teaches us not to make assumptions that processes will be difficult but that by getting close enough to see the down stream effect we are not only doing due dilligence, but also recognising the impact on the ecosystem or organization as well.

  4. May 24, 2013 at 6:10 pm #

    Hello Ron, thanks for this beautiful video clip. I could immediately relate to Kimi’s world view having grown up on a pacific island as well. What I saw was the collaboration, partnership and sustainability that she beleived in that amounted to sustainability of her beloved sea enviroment. Those deep blue waters such do make me homesick ! The grace and peaceful ness were so calming, even watching. The relationship to process, was about how process is so individual to each of our world views, and making assumptions of others ( their spirituality, their belief in their stewardship of their land, and the less consumer driven lifestyles) makes this a lesson in acceptance. Our view of what improvement is, is not necessarily always the correct one, based on our cultural competence or lack there of.

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