top of page

Law of Navigation

Law of NavigationSgt Bardsley

There you sit, cold and wet. Sat on a rock and overlooking the ocean.

And before you, you witness the perilous sinking of your beloved naval vessel.

Thinking about the pathetic attempts you made to prevent this situation, you can't help but ask yourself: why did this happen?

Welcome to the fourth edition of The Laws of Leadership; if you want to change the world, read on.

Lets get back to the narrative.

You were the captain. All of the sailors on board that ship depended on you. And they all trusted you to keep them safe, but your lack of foresight caused the ship to run into some trouble upon the sea and for that, your sailors paid the price.

You had no contingencies because you were so confident that your voyage would be an outstanding success that you barely even consulted maps before setting sail, nevermind asking others who could provide you insight.

Elaborating on the point we made in the Law of Process it should be noted that:

Anyone can steer the ship, but it takes a leader to chart the course.

In this fantasy, if you were a true leader, you would have planned it all out. You would have taken every measure to avoid this situation, rather than blindly hoping you would be able to resolve any problems that may arise.

An experienced leader sees a problem before it is even a threat. They are aware of what can and can't pose a risk and they know what's worth preparing for. They see more, they see farther and they see before others do.

They weigh up the dangers and the cost on their followers before their 'ship' even leaves the dock.


One reason leadership is so similar to sailing, is that a team is very similar to a boat.

In that: the bigger the boat the harder it is to turn it around;

the bigger the team, the harder it is to turn around.

And that is why the charted course is so important for both because it is harder to change direction halfway through.

At the start of every parade night all NCOs are given a brief. This is effective because right from the start, every one of us knows what is happening and when. We are all on the same page. And if one small thing happens, and one person is sent off course having to deal with whatever problems may come up, the team is so big and is already set so strongly in motion that overall the night continues just as expected.

For the same reason the 317 NCO Team succeeds, your imaginary naval adventure failed.

The course charted was bad. You didn't see the potential problems and so did not avoid them nor did you prepare for them. And your ship was so big and so unmaneuverable that when crisis finally emerged, there was nothing to do but wait and watch your boat meet it's watery grave.

You have to make sure that no team you ever lead sees the same fate as your ship.


A good leader looks inwards.

And so now as you sit on this rock, your ship already below the surface of the water, you must be reflecting on what went wrong. And anytime in the future you will look back upon your failures and makes sure to chart the next course more appropriately.

Failure is a great advantage when planning next steps.


Thank you for getting this far. I hope you have enjoyed the fourth edition of The Laws of Leadership. If you have any questions: feel free to ask.

Now please, allow me to leave you with these 3 suggestions to think about:

  1. Reflect on your mistakes and successes often, and learn from them

  2. Do your homework - no sending 'ships' into the sea without first knowing where to go.

  3. Think realistically - think about facts, consequences both negative and positive.

And have an incredible day.


Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page