Policies and Checklists

Solomon, the king of Israel offered his prayer to God, “God, I want you to make me famous. I want to spread the fame of my name through every land, I want you to give me power. I want you to make me famous. I want you to give me influence.” And then he added, “So that the king may care for the widow and orphan, support the oppressed, defend the defenseless, care for the sick, assist the poor, speak for the foreigner, those in prison.” The whole purpose of power and influence can only be served when acted towards those who have no influence and power.

As the world celebrates Eid Al Fitr our vessel finds herself safely berth in port, with all operations suspended for a day. With this and having a cadet on board, I asked my duty officers also to take a break and instead of keeping 6 on – 6 off watches, offered 4-8 watch to our deck cadet. As we planned this, two things happened. Firstly, the officers were happy to get extra hours of rest and secondly our cadet was also excited for our trust on him.

Dealing with humans, I always wonder why people skills are never a part our job description. Why every time it has to do with it checklists, procedures and policies and not with empathy. I don’t know whether giving responsibility to a cadet was right or wrong but surely it made his day and our officers did liked this small bounty. I believe it was not the responsibility but simply the trust which was shown that matters most. With almost two decades in this profession, I firmly believe that it’s not how much we know that matters but how much we care about our people that matters the most.

We don’t need a system of carrots and sticks rather a system of camaraderie where we can find a sense of belonging. Filling checklists will never lead us to victory but sometimes marching to a different drummer can take us to what is required.

Before I forget, to all my friends out there, “EID Mubarak”. I wish you a life free of checklists and policies.

Thank you for your time. I hope it was worth your while.

Published by Harsh Pandey

A shapeless Pigmy searching for his own awakening. Otherwise, I am a master mariner, commanding merchant ships on international voyages.

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