From the story of El Faro, it is evident now that the fastest route isn’t always the safest.   And a decision made by the most qualified officer in a room isn’t always the smartest.  The captain’s language of invincibility discouraged any crew member from expressing concern.

Perhaps El Faro would have been saved if the captain had established psychological safety that encouraged a diversified opinion from the crew members.

Maybe if he had established the practice of voting first before discussing, and practiced being curious instead of compelling, the ship would have been safe.

Every organization has a particular culture that is groomed through daily interactions and actions.  As a leader it is your responsibility to push for a more beneficial communication system.  Your type of leadership is evident in the language you use.  Always remember that you control the clock and everyone needs to collaborate to achieve a goal.  But this is not possible if they do not commit to working hard at it.  It is your job to celebrate wins, pursue every team members improvement and connect to them individually.

In the real sense, these steps are not easy.  But they are worth it and would prevent your ship from sinking.

Try this

Discuss your organizations goals with your team.  Share your possible concerns and encourage them to share theirs.

Also, try to create a platform for employees to make their suggestions anonymously, before a decision is made…


*Boards everywhere should take heed from this story.  Your actions have very real consequences.  They could even be fatal to your organization.  Do not ignore the signs.  Your Ego is not more important than the life of the organization.

*Leaders take note from this story.  Confidence is one thing, ignorance is another.  Resistance from a few is natural, resistance from all is a red flag.  Your actions have very real consequences.

When you are in a position of leadership, your words have weight, your actions are always observed, your character is paramount.

Sometimes, even you as the Captain cannot jump ship and run from the mess, it will swallow you along with all of the others….

DO NOT be an El Faro…


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